Chapter 08

Bella landed late afternoon from her trip and after passing by the apartment to drop off her bag and change, she headed into the office. As she made her way through the halls, to the DPD, she was stopped by Arthur Campbell, whom wasn’t quite sure of what to say to her at first.

Raising an eyebrow at him, she waited until her patience was stretched as far as it could go. “Arthur? Something wrong?” she asked.

He pressed his lips together and shook his head waving her to follow him into his office. Closing the door behind her, he held up the file in his hand. “I know you have a tendency for stirring the pot when you get bored. Sometimes just to provoke reactions. But this last request is something that I’m curious as to what is motivating it before anything goes forward.”

Again she raised her brow, but both shot up in surprise. “I haven’t a clue of what you’re talking about.”

Staring at her, Arthur seemed gage her sincerity before nodding. “So you don’t want Auggie read into TWILIGHT?”

The awareness quickly dawned on her as she turned her face away, wondering how the inquiry filtered down to him. She hadn’t expected Jai to do anything until he got back, but now assumed he had to have placed a call at least.

“Well? Bella?”

She turned her head back to him quickly. Nodding hesitantly, she swallowed her breath. “Yes. I’d like him read in,” she croaked.

He leaned against his desk as he studied the girl that had become like a daughter to him over the years. “Why?”

“He knows enough about the Cullens and my relationship with them to know that it’s toxic. That, that if he had the opportunity, I don’t doubt he would try to kill Edward Cullen on my behalf,” she answered as she looked at him. “Much like my father wants to shoot my ex-boyfriend if he ever lays eyes on him again.”

“It’s not because of your friendship with Auggie driving this inquisition?” he clarified, his tone light but searching. She knew, he knew.

“My relationship with Auggie is a factor in the decision that I don’t want to keep details of this particular mission and related assignments from him, yes,” she admitted bravely.

He nodded, flipping the folder open on his desk and signed the top paper before looking over at her. “The DCI wanted to deny the request. I happened to be present when the call came in and supported Auggie’s inclusion. Fill him in. I hope that he can help keep your head straight as it appears this case is picking up full steam now that they are coming out of the dark. Dismissed.”

Making her way into DPD, she was in a daze. Dropping her purse at her desk, even though she wouldn’t be there long, she turned to look for Auggie in his office. Only to find it empty. His coat and cane gone. Gnawing on her lip, she turned to leave when Harleen from Cover came down and slid past her to set some drives on his desk.

Glaring at her, as she started to leave, the girl turned and smiled. “Hey Bella. You should go check Auggie out at the museum. He got stuck playing tour guide for Agent Walker’s niece’s class. It’s rather entertaining footage.”

Bella fought to smother her irritation and protection of the man. “Why would the idiot agree to a tour?”

“Sell her cover to her sister, I guess. It’s too late now to be bothered by it. If you leave now you might be able to still catch him. Oh hey! Do you know if he found a new girlfriend or something because that was one hell of a bite he was sporting this morning,” she grinned. “Shame. He’s really cute too.”

When the girl’s eyes narrowed, the Cover tech realized that she might have crossed a fine line, knowing the sensitive history between the two. “Sorry,” she huffed and left.

Rolling her eyes, Bella hastily grabbed her purse and left as quickly as she could. She didn’t want to seem too eager.

~o.O.o~

Bella walked out of the Smithsonian with her employee badge pinned to her blouse, smiling as she watched Auggie get trampled by a bunch of children. Nearby her, she saw a blond woman on the phone thanking someone profusely. When she started going on about how wonderful Auggie was, she had the idea that the woman was Annie’s sister and she liked him for more with the agent.

“Geez Auggie. If I’d known you liked kids this much, I’m sure they could have arranged for you to lead all the tours that come up like this,” Bella called out, garnishing both the man’s attention, and that of Annie’s sister.

Smiling widely because his girl was back, he turned to her. “Have you come to save me?” He felt like a human jungle jim. It was probably his own fault for having allowed them to climb on him in the first place, but third graders were exhausting.

Annie owed him big time. He was still only hanging around as it was the proper way of doing things while the teacher and the moms waited for the bus to return to take them back to school. He needed coffee.

He was going to file a complaint with Covers, although they had apologized to him. Annie hadn’t informed them – of course not, she didn’t know she had to inform them when something major like a tour with kids happened to retain her cover. So filing a complaint with them would be moot.

Annie owed them too.

“Perhaps,” Bella answered, pulling her phone out to sneak a photo of him with the group. Pocketing it, she bit her bottom lip slightly as she drew in a breath. “You ready to go? I just got out of an, um, interesting meeting with Arthur.”

“Ah, please,” Auggie said before turning his attention back to the kids. “No, no, no, my cane is not a lightsaber.” He helped the kid to get off his back – more like peeling him off – and told him to find his teacher for him.

Stepping in to give him a hand with the kids, she quickly had him separated as she gave the most rambunctious a gentle shove towards their guardians for the trip. “Go on, go to your teachers or moms. Whoever they are,” she told them. Putting herself between her boyfriend and the children when they tried to come back, she raised her eyebrow silently and just pointed until they turned away. Shaking her head, she turned around to Auggie and let her hand brush his. “You survive this okay?” She asked, smothering a grin.

“I’m still in one piece,” he smiled as he ran his hand up her arm. “I am so glad you’re home. Are you okay?” His hand reached her hair and he ran his fingers through before leaning in to kiss her.

When they parted, she let out a heavy sigh. She was never more relieved to be in his reach then at that moment. While she could wait until later to tell him, she had decided the band aid approach would be best. Regardless of her knowing his feelings over her ex. “I am now. Can we talk about my meeting when we get home?”

“That bad, huh?” He gently took hold of her arm and nodded. “Very well then, lead the way.”

“Eh. More like I’d gotten permission from, um, the grandparents, to tell you more than they originally wanted you to hear,” she insinuated, glancing around as she started for the parking lot. “With some help from Dad, as he was around.”

He knew how much it meant to her, and he was glad that they had given her the permission. Strange, really, considering she’d been on this mission on her own for years. Jai knew, of course he did, but he wasn’t Jai. He always resented Jai a little bit for knowing about this part of Bella’s life. “Good thing I’ve stocked up on alcohol then.”

She let out a laugh, and leaned into him. “I’m hoping we won’t need it, but a good backup plan regardless. You do have other promises I would rather you follow through on if you don’t get as – upset as I think you might.”

“Upset? Me?” He snorted and shook his head. “Don’t worry, I’m still going to cook you a meal and give you a nice massage, I promised.”

“Sounds like a plan,” she replied, pushing herself up to press her lips to his jaw. “So – Auggie? That guy I met in the casino? How did you know him?” she asked curiously.

“Jasper Whitlock wasn’t always an FBI agent,” he explained as he put his arms around her now that they’d stopped walking anyway. “I ran into him a couple of times during one of the ops I went on for the special forces. Army Major Whitlock was a pain in the ass, and seems like he hasn’t changed. Next time I see him, I’m going to punch him in the face for flirting with you.”

Bella’s arms slid over his shoulders as she grinned at the image that came to mind. “You should really wait to speak like that until we are alone. You have no idea what that does to me,” she whispered into his ear.

“Then get us home and let us deal with the things that need to be dealt with before the fun part starts,” he murmured and kissed her again.

“As you wish,” she giggled and resumed their previous position as she led them to her car, eager for a fast drive, and avoiding as much traffic as possible.

~o.O.o~

There were so many things he wanted to do with her when they got home, undress her, claim every inch of her body with his hands, his mouth, before he’d impale her, driving the both of them to a climax. Or maybe that first, and then the claiming afterwards.

He had been wanting to do that ever since she’d left, and it had been crazy. He had never experienced a need like that that bad, but it was ever since they decided to give them as a couple a go, he had turned into a horny teenager again.

But he could wait for a while longer, he knew that she wanted to get the tough part out of the way first, and he also knew that it was going to be quite hard for her. Maybe seeing the new apparatus in his kitchen would lift her spirits somewhat.

Auggie slid open the door and took a step to the side. “Welcome home, Bella.”

“Home,” Bella sighed in relief, as she walked in, dropping her purse on the armchair. “You want a drink for this talk?” she asked as she headed for the kitchen, stopping when she walked into the galley area. “Um, Auggie? What did you do?”

He followed her after closing the door and grinned. “It gets better, open the cabinet underneath it.”

Moving forward on his command, she opened the door and her mouth fell open. “When did you do this? I wanted to look for a machine, but put it off… Auggie…” she turned around to kiss him, hard. “You didn’t have to do this, really. Oh my god,” Bella repeated over as she eyed the Italian system on display on the counter. “Um, where is your coffee maker?”

“I didn’t throw it out, but I figured that if I invest in a machine like that that I should learn how to operate it as well. Might have to add some stickers to buttons I need to push. If I’ll make a big mess out of it, no harm done, I’ll use my coffee maker to make coffee.” He then grinned. “I’m going to draw a line at cleaning the fiddly bits though.”

“That’s fine. Absolutely. If I didn’t love you so much before, saying it now would be cheap. Would you like some Italian coffee?” Bella asked.

“Yeah, sure,” he found one of the stools and sat down on it. “Knock yourself out.” He loved to hear the excitement, the love, in her voice. He knew this had been a stroke of genius. He had had to pull some strings to get it over faster, especially the coffee, but it worked out. “Aside from your mission, did you get to enjoy London a bit?”

Grabbing the instruction manual and a bag of coffee, Bella set to the task of learning how to operate her new gift. “I did. The casino event aside. Despite what happened there, seeing Alice, it was fun, even with your friend Whitlock. I don’t know what they are going to want me to do about him, but if I know our bosses like I think I do, I am going to hate having to play double agent against a sister agency. I thought we’re supposed to be on the same side?”

“It’s likely that you have to try to find out what his mission is without telling him yours and then figure out if he can derail yours,” he said as he shrugged. “Or, I could see if I can get him to talk and divulge. And then it’s up to you to decide to work with him or not.”

Bella looked up, thoughtful as she listened to the machine kick to life. “I was considering, if I had to go through with it like I fear, use him to my advantage. He thinks of me as a potential resource, a gold mine. I know enough to play him and work around his limitations in that family. Speaking of which…my assignment the last couple years… Italy?”

“Let me guess… you were there to keep an eye out on a big crime family and your ex-boyfriend and his family is somehow involved,” he replied. “I mean, that’s what I’ve been thinking since the casino and looked up this Alice Cullen. She and Jasper both flew in from Italy.”

“The Volturi are cousins of Carlisle,” she murmured. “The CIA is more interested in them than the Cullens, but considering my history, I’m a wildcard. They hoped if I was able to be seen as a local, eventually, I might be able to be taken in on their side. Bitter ex in the protection of the stronger side of the family. But everything went dead silent for so long. I hadn’t seen anyone of value in a year.”

He wanted to ask her why she’d even agree to such a mission, mostly due to the risk of running into that ex of hers, but realized that she was the right person for the job, she had history, she could get close. “I don’t like it,” he said softly. “And all on your own? Who was… is, your backup?”

“I don’t either. And for awhile, Jai was, but he was called away for another assignment that involved another agent, but things were quiet on my end. HQ said that there was a plan in place, if anything were to happen, and I did make another agent or two in the area time to time. I didn’t ask any questions when they didn’t offer names. I figured they didn’t want me to know until the time was right for everyone’s safety. Felix Volturi – he’s a nasty fucker when he gets his hands on you,” she shuddered as she set his drink down. “Your 9:00 o’clock.”

“Thanks,” he smiled at her, carefully moving his hand to see where the mug was, clocked it and moved it closer to him. “I’m not supposed to know this, but the CIA has been after the Volturi for a very long time. It seems that they have their fingers into everything and almost everyone who can be bought. I’ve heard the name drop from time to time, and not just in Rome where I was for a while.”

“DCI didn’t want you to know, but Arthur happened to be there when Jai called requesting you read in. He pushed for your inclusion, before coming to talk to me about us. Good news is, you’re on the team,” she said with a half hearted cheer, considering how somber of a long-term mission it really was for her. “Definitely makes it better.”

He smiled at that. “A fresh pair of eyes helping you out might work too, I might find things you haven’t previously thought of once I get my hands on those files.” Auggie took a sip of his coffee and it tasted great, richer than any other coffee. “I’m glad you asked for me to be read in, Bella. I know how hard this has been on you and I hope things will get better.”

Taking up the stool beside him and pulling it close, she reached over for his hand, weaving her fingers in his. “I wanted to tell you so many times, but you know how it goes. The pressure just felt worse over the last week, especially while away when I just feel like it was something that could rip us apart and I don’t want that. I’d rather avoid whatever trouble before it could come to pass.”

He turned as he rubbed his thumb over her hand. “It’s going to be alright. We’re going to tear them apart into little pieces so that you can get closure and the freedom from them. I promise.”

“When this is done and over with, perhaps we can take a page from Agent Walker’s book and disappear to an island somewhere? Just you and I?” she asked.

He laughed at that. “Annie traveled before she joined, but yes. That’s a great idea.”

“We’re entitled to a vacation,” she huffed. “Sure, I had a two year one in Italy just about, not that I’m complaining, but I still was always on guard and defensive. Some life. I want to go somewhere for us.”

“We will,” Auggie agreed. “But for now, we’re going to play hooky tomorrow and stay indoors all weekend,” he said with a smirk. “Maybe only to get more booze. Or we could escape to the trails and go horse riding.” He pulled her onto his lap and kissed her. “Or maybe just stay here.”

“Hmm, Ti tromebrei fino a quando nessuno dei due riesce a camminare,” she murmured against his lips, her hands pushing the ugly blazer from the Smithsonian off. (I’d rather fuck you until both of us cannot walk.)

“Whatever that was, I’m sure that can be arranged,” he smirked as he tugged on her shirt before deciding that if they’d stay on the stool that they’d definitely fall off and hurt themselves. He scooped her up as he got up and debated on where to go. The couch was the closest. Bed was the most comfortable. Bed it was.

He walked them into the bedroom and put her down on the bed with a big grin on his face. “I’m on top.”

“Fine by me,” she agreed as she pulled at his shirt. “You did make some promises for a home welcoming that I’ve been looking forward to since I called and I’m cashing in.”

“The order may have changed, but that’s okay, we’ve got all weekend,” he grinned as he pulled his shirt off and heard her shed hers as well.

Her hand came up around his neck to pull him back down to her as she kissed him hungrily. Her free hand slip over his chest and down to his waistband, her fingers dipping underneath as she held him close to her, small moans escaping through her throat. “You know,” she started as she broke away for air. “We both call out tomorrow, and it’s as good as a confirmation. This will probably the last weekend truly to ourselves before everyone asks questions again before it dies down… I don’t care.”

“You don’t want to call out tomorrow?” He asked as he kissed her neck. “You still have to file a report or something? Oh, wait… I can’t… Annie’s still in London…”

“Fucking work,” she moaned, breathlessly, as her nails moved across the back of his shoulders and she began to undo his belt. “Work it is tomorrow. With any luck, we can sneak out early. I might know someplace where we can hide until the end of the work day.”

“My office, going over your files,” he muttered as he started to kiss his way down her chest, playfully biting her freed breast as his hands were opening her pants. “Doors closed, just you and me. Probably hung over,” he chuckled against her stomach before removing her pants and taking her underwear with it.

“It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve gone in like that,” Bella replied as she looked at him and helped kick off her clothes. Sitting up on her elbows, she grinned. “You’re still way too overdressed, sir. I take serious offense to that.”

“My apologies,” he got off the bed and dropped his pants. “Better?”

Her eyes roamed down his body, biting on her fingertip before silently making her way over to him. Her fingers grazed his hips before she sank to her knees and took him in her hands. Looking up at him, she took him in her mouth slowly, enjoying every inch of him.

“Oh!” He let out a laugh as he grasped for her shoulders to steady himself. He had not expected that! And oh, it felt so good, her lips around his cock, all thoughts of him fucking her forgotten – for now. “Oh, that… feels so good.” He fought hard not to grab her head to keep her in place, but eventually buried his fingers in her hair.

She chuckled as she threw herself into giving him a very enthusiastic blow job. Bella’s hand came up to run along his arm until it came to his body, reaching up and feeling everywhere on the way down.

Part one of a proper welcome home party had been successful; after Bella had blown him, he returned the favor, and it was glorious. The whole bed was shaking due to Bella’s thrashing around and he had loved it.

After putting on some sweatpants, he went to the kitchen to make them food. While he had never been a great cook – even when he could still see, he had to admit that he had improved, simply because he had to take his time now and time everything to make sure it wasn’t undercooked or burning. Or cutting himself with a knife when cutting up the vegetables.

Stirring awake after falling into a light nap after their activities and her recent travel, Bella smiled to herself as she thought about that had changed for her in such a short time. Reaching for his shirt on the floor, she pulled it on and made her way to the kitchen, sliding up behind him and running her hands around his waist and over his arm to still his hand that held the knife to avoid any accidents from her startling him. Her lips laid open mouthed kisses across his back, shoulder to shoulder, in greeting before she spoke. “I vote for we have home welcomings like that any time one of us goes away,” she grinned.

“Oh, but I’m not done yet,” he put the knife down and turned around to pull her into an embrace. “I am far from done with you, missy.” He kissed her tenderly before giving her a slight nudge. “I’m going to finish cutting these up before we both pass out from manly hunger.”

Laughing, Bella snuck a piece of carrot from the board and popped it in her mouth before she moved away from him, but couldn’t help to blatantly eyefuck him as she went to her bag to retrieve her tablet to pull up something to read while she kept him company. She’d always known he was good looking, but hadn’t ever considered that he would actually be hers in this sense. She would be lying to herself if she denied a crush on him when they first met but hadn’t acted on it. Comfortable just remaining friends and it went away. So she thought.

Once he was certain he had everything chopped – Bella had stole a carrot, hadn’t she? – he put them all in a big colander and moved to the sink to wash the carrot bits. She was looking at him, and he could only imagine how intense her gaze was, but he knew her. He had seen her gaze at men before, it was strange to be on the receiving end of it. He had always wanted to be on that receiving end. “See something you like, Swan?” He asked playfully as he filled a pan with water to start cooking the carrots.

“Very much, Anderson. I say we burn off the calories from dinner with some – rigorous exercise. Lots of cardio and flexibility training, in bed,” she called out suggestively, her crossed legs hanging over the arm chair, ignoring her iPad on her lap.

Grinning, he continued to cook. “Or how about on that arm chair you’re so deliciously gracing?”

She glanced down and smirked. “Anywhere you like, Anderson. We can even go in your car if you want to take it out for a run – but save that for another time. I just may take you on the kitchen floor.”

“After dinner,” he pointed out as he checked the time on his watch before he put a pan filled with water on the other hob and turned it on. He reached into the fridge to retrieve two chicken breasts, already cleaned by the butcher – he couldn’t do everything by himself! – and opened a drawer with the spices.

There were braille labels on the jars and he found the chicken seasoning quite easily; chicken was good. That and steak were the only things he typically ate when cooking by himself because they were so easy to do.

As he was rubbing in the spices on the chicken, gently massaging it in with his fingertips, someone knocked on the door. “Uhm, are you decent enough to see who’s on the other side of that door?”

“I’m in your shirt, and nothing else, Auggie,” Bella answered as she moved to set her tablet on the table. “Literally.”

He stopped what he was doing for a moment and took a deep breath. “Fuck,” he eventually replied, his tiny ninja in just his shirt? Just his shirt and no underwear? Oh, he was so going to tease her when they were having their food and hope they could finish their meal before sliding to the floor and hitting a home run, again.

“I’m going to go to the bedroom and put some pants on,” she muttered. “You’ll have to get the door. I’ll be right back.”

He let out a cry of frustration as he turned to the tap and quickly cleaned his hands before walking to the door and sliding it open. “Yes?”

“Auggie,” Joan stood patiently waiting, smiling as she eyed him curiously. “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything – important.”

“No, not really,” he said as he stepped aside to let her in. “I was simply rubbing some spices on the chicken.”

“Sounds delicious. I actually came by to bring some paperwork for you. Is Bella around? I missed her at the office after Arthur saw her. I had something to give her, considering she brings something for us all the time, but I figured I could bring it here, with the paperwork,” she smiled, a hint of amusement in her tone.

“Yeah, she’ll be right out,” he replied, a little bit confused that his boss would bring paperwork over. It must be important. “Excuse me,” he said as he heard the water boil on the stove in both pans and went to turn it down.

“Of course. You should know, that this present, is also, in part for you as well,” the woman shared as she set a gift bag on the counter. “If you like, you can inspect it. Let me know what she might think.”

“What are you up to, Joan?” He snorted as he moved to see what she had brought. He reached into the bag and frowned, unable to distinguish the object and reached in with his other hand to get a better picture. “Is that…” A big grin appeared on his face as he withdrew his hands. “Wait a second… you know.”

“If you want to keep something a secret, be careful of your topics of conversation on the company phone,” she hinted with a smile. “As far as the paperwork, I’m sure you have an idea of what it is by now. I think you both would rather fill it out here rather than Langley, if I’m to assume you’re trying to keep this to yourselves for the time.”

“Yeah, we are,” he nodded. “It’s new, you know. Different, but not so much. We like to enjoy this new thing together for a while, I can’t help it that she slipped up.”

Joan nodded, understanding where he was coming from. “Bella operates from her heart but she lets her head drive her. It’s one of the reasons that makes her a good agent. Do try to get through this honeymoon phase of the relationship soon, because it is a distraction for her. You’ve been through a number of relationships Auggie. You know she hasn’t had nearly as many serious ones.”

“True, but this time it’s different. It feels different. It feels right, you know. Not off. Nothing’s off.”

“I hope so, for both your sakes. Arthur may like you, but he still thinks of her like a daughter, and her father expects him to look after her like one as long as she works for the Agency. But, with you both filed, things should hopefully proceed more smoothly. Especially for her assignment now that I hear you’ve been read in?”

“Why are my ears burning?” Bella complained as she made her way into the kitchen, frowning slightly at seeing Joan. “Mom. I didn’t break the vase. Jai did.”

“I’ll let you two talk, I need to tend to my chickens,” Auggie grinned as he made his way back to the stove.

“What vase?” Joan replied as she rolled her eyes at her. “I brought you a gift.”

Bella’s eyes remained large and innocent. “Forget I said anything then,” she smiled. “A present for me? Really?” she asked as she went for the bag, pulling out a Fisher Price farmer and plow. Blinking at it, she was confused. “The hell is this? I’m not pregnant or expecting children anytime in the near future.”

“Oh, but you said you wanted to plow, or get plowed or something,” Joan teased her with a broad smile on her face. “So I brought you a farmer and a plow.”

Her mouth fell open, in shock and embarrassment as her face reddened. “Ohhh…fuck…” she let out, her eyes darting to Auggie. “I can explain…”

“Don’t worry, the conversation has been deleted from the server. There were some technical difficulties during your phonecall to Auggie.”

“Technical difficulties named Dad?” she questioned as she set the toy down, playing with the farmer’s arm aimlessly.

“No, named Auggie, but we got a copy before he could completely ruin it,” Joan eyed her tech operative as he stood there, grinning, over his hot pans.

“Okay. So, you and Dad know about us. You just visited to tease us?”

“No,” Joan smiled at her and handed her paperwork. “This needs your signatures, both of your signatures. Figured you’d rather do it here than at Langley.”

Bella eyed her as she opened the folder and blinked. “Oh wow. This certainly makes things bigger and official,” she whispered as she looked at the documents. Most of everything was already filled out, suspiciously enough, and eyed her mother slash aunt.

“What? I know the both of you well enough to fill in those forms. Like I said, all it needs are signatures.”

“Of course,” she replied, moving to get a pen out of her bag and bit her lip as she signed her name across the papers. “Okay. Just need Auggie’s John Hancock.”

“I’m not going to sign something I haven’t read yet,” Auggie remarked from the kitchen. “Are you kidding me? What if she wants our first born to sacrifice to the CIA gods in a bloody ritual? Or my kidney?”

Joan shook her head as Bella brought the papers over to him. “For what it’s worth, she brought a copy in braille. And with agents’ luck, the CIA would likely try to get them to conceive on ops, then recruit the offspring. Aren’t you happy I have an implant?”

“Yes. We can’t risk setting another Jai loose on this world,” he said as he skimmed the braille document with his fingers to see if there wasn’t anything fishy going on. “I mean, with our combined looks and brains, the kid would practically be the perfect spy.”

“You get no argument from me,” Joan interrupted. “Though, Arthur and I would personally prefer to have someone to counter Bella’s pranks with.”

“Don’t be going to make me a mother a week into our relationship,” Bella snapped, her head whipping to glare at her. “I have nothing against kids, but that’s a little too soon for anything. Don’t you think?”

“You’ve been unofficially together for the last decade, try again,” Joan winked at her.

Rolling her eyes as Auggie continued to review the papers, she frowned. “I’ve been out of the country and he’s been married, and in a couple serious relations since. When have we been unofficial?”

“They weren’t that serious,” Joan huffed as she motioned to the papers. “He only signed one with Helen.”

“Can we please not talk about her?” Auggie said as he finished reading the papers and found the pen. “Where do I sign?”

Bella nodded as she had been friends with Helen as well before showing him where his name was needed. “Of course,” she said quietly, running her hand up and down his arm soothingly. Looking to Joan, she raised an eyebrow. “Everything at the office remains the same as far as the others are concerned. I don’t care that you and Dad know, but I kinda enjoy everyone scratching their heads.”

“Of course, it’s just between us. I know you like to play with other people’s minds,” Joan said as she took the papers from Auggie. “I’ll see the both of you at work tomorrow.”

“Yep. Maybe we can have a family dinner one night,” she suggested, looking up at him. “What do you think, Auggie?”

“Dinner with the bosses… Uh… pass?”

Laughing lightly. “You wouldn’t be eating with the bosses. You’d be eating with my aunt and uncle – my back up parents,” she pointed out. “I’ll find a restaurant that’s inconspicuous enough for the four of us.”

“Why? You’re not cooking then?” He teased her as he poured the cup of rice into the boiling water and threw the chicken breasts onto the grill.

“I can cook. I can make lasagna,” she said happily and looked back over at Joan. “Dad and you can come over maybe next week or after if nothing is going on. Sound good? Some wine…”

“I’ll let him know,” Joan smiled widely.

“In laws! I never had to deal with them before!” Auggie whined. “I tend to avoid them.”

“It’s not like you don’t know them, or don’t know what to expect,” Bella snorted and looked at her mother. “Thanks for everything. Really. We’ll see you tomorrow,” she said as she went to hug her.

“Good night you two, enjoy your dinner.”

“Bye Joan,” Auggie said as he carefully flipped the chicken and checked the time again on his watch. He heard the door slide open and close and let out a breath of relief. “What just happened?”

“I think we’re officially classified a couple by the CIA, as being committed,” Bella said as she leaned against the island. “At least that is what the papers I signed implied. I have no

regrets, but I don’t care about that right now. New rule, especially now that work has officially encroached on our little bliss of paradise. The Agency, stays at the Agency. We leave work back at the office as much as possible. How’s that sound?”

“Sounds great,” he replied as he drained the carrots in a colander in the sink. “Can’t promise anything though, but I think we could give that a try.”

Bella smiled happily. She left it at that, knowing that in their line of work, it becomes your life and follows you home. Her life lead her to her work. “Anything you want me to do?”

“Yes, you can grab the plates so we can plate up our food.”

“Sure,” she smirked, moving to get everything, intentionally brushing up behind him and his ass in the process with each pass. “Excuse me.”

“You tease,” he grinned as he carefully moved with the cooked rice in the pan. “If only you knew what I have planned…”

Bella pursed her lips, fighting a smile while she set their plates on the counter. “Am I to hope that your plans require absolutely no clothing and the promise of death for the next person that knocks on the door to interrupt our night?”

“Ah, you know me so well,” he said with a grin.


A/N: Many thanks, again, to langsandlit over at tumblr for the Italian.

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