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Gavin had enough pride to wait for her to go in the house before collapsing to the ground, gasping for breath. Linus trotted over to him, flopping down and rolling to his back to try and mimic him. [b "Good thing you're cute, buddy,"] he huffed as the dog rolled and kicked him.
When she called out to him shortly after, he forced his neck to turn his head. [b "Go warm up the bed! I'm going to crawl to the shower. I might make it to the bedroom in the next four hours."]
Every muscle in his body screamed in protest, but he hauled himself to his feet. [b "Help me, bud,"] he called for Linus, placing a steady hand on the dog's back to make it to the house.
Feeling like he was burning up from the exercise and heat, he opted for a cold shower. He didn't get out to get dressed until his teeth were chattering and his skin was rippled with goosebumps. Crawling into bed was the best feeling he'd had in weeks.
[b "You're going to have the hottest husband, real or fake,"] he mumbled into her neck as he settled behind her to wrap his arm around her waist.
The girl smiles. [#Af18ae Maybe around this time next month. Right now it’s the sugar king leaving your bad but not without a gift first.] she says starting another fight. Outside combat is easier. You could use anything from the dirty to cars. Although fighting in a kitchen is always a pain. It wasn’t long before she stopped to make him learn not to shoot and find a gun that fits him.
When serena has enough she ended things. If he wants to continue he can. Right now a bath sounds amazing. [#Af18ae Watch him for me.] she orders Luna scratches her chin. The girl heads inside to get ready for the shower. A well deserved shower. It was a cold one to help with her aching body. Poor Gavin would have thrnmost difficult time getting up once when he relaxes his body. [#Af18ae Am i glong to bed alone? Only asking so I can’t take your fur baby so he doesn’t distract you. Lina on the other hand may take my place.] she says jokingly.
Every punch was deserved. He knew it. It served to correct his mistakes. The more he focused, the less likely he was going to get his ass kicked. Gavin's body was screaming at him, but he pushed through the aching muscles and bones. Tomorrow was going to be one hell of a constellation of bruises.
It was well into the night, and they'd been at it for hours. Running different combat scenarios, prepping for how to disarm a knife. He fucked up more than once, and was bearing the cuts to prove it along his forearms. He'd had to stop twice to reassure a whining Linus that Serena wasn't hurting him.
[b "This beats the hell out of a Crossfit workout,"] he panted at the three hours mark, stopping to pour water onto his head.
They'd moved out into the yard, where there was more space to move around while sparring. His determination was just as strong as when they'd first began earlier in the night, but his stamina had long-since wound down with sluggish movements.
[b "I'd better get a six-pack out of this,"] his hand was resting on his abdomen where she'd landed a solid punch.
Why is this making her cry? His determination may get him killed. Her gulp was her and loud. Her voice cracked a bit when she spoke. [#Af18ae Gavin... I love you but you don’t have to go this hard... once this is done... we should part ways. My lifestyle is my burden. You’ll never be able to do anything without looking over your shoulder or be paranoid. Plus you have a family business. Once when you get it back I’ll help keep it safe by claiming it and you won’t have to worry about anything. If I’m gone then they’ll go after you.] she walks up to him placing her hand on his cheek gently. Something about his eyes is telling her he’s not going to back down. That sort of scared her. Yea, she wanted him to be more focused and learn. But not by him wanting to learn how she did and be apart of her lifestyle. It’s dangerous and suicidal.
Serena let’s out a small sigh. Her hand drops as her lips met his. [#Af18ae You’re going to be sore and possible close to death... I’ve been going soft on you. But I’ll amp it up a bit. Brace yourself...] she whispers taking a step back. For everything he’s done wrong, got wrong or missed he would get hit. Hard. It hurt her to treat him like he’s nothing. But it was how she learned to stop the torture. There were a few times she stopped. It gave her flash backs to her days of learning. When it came to combat she didn’t meant to hit him as hard as she did. She would correct his mistake. Told him what he should’ve done instead. Repeat it if it was needed which is was until he got it right. If she’s was sweating, you could only imagine how he looks like. He’s probably sweating out all the sugar and beer and god knows what else. He’s not going to sleep. This is going to be worse than boot camp.
His chest was still huffing for air as she entered the room. Gavin looked upwards at her, giving a shake of his head. [b "We can't stop,"] he hauled himself into a seated position. [b "Stopping is what caught us off guard in the first place. Not being in control of what was going on around me let a clinically psychotic man get his hands on my father's company."]
Even with every muscle in his body screaming, he forced himself to his feet. [b "I don't care if I never regain feeling in my legs; I have to be pushed. I need you to push me. Yell at me, hit me, do what you have to. If I don't stay motivated, I'm going to get us killed."]
It made him sick to even consider the possibility that he wouldn't be skilled enough to save her, if she needed him. [b "What good am I to you if I can't help? I don't want to be the lazy alcoholic that I've been. I want to be strong enough to be worthy of you. Of protecting you. Of being the kind of partner you can rely on when sick fucking people kidnap you and leave you for dead."]
Gavin realized he was probably getting too heated, but he couldn't stop himself from speaking. His eyes were practically bugged out with adrenaline. [b "I'm not going to be the weak link in our plans."]
Serena hesitated to walk inside. It’s not like by being hesitant would change anything. Nor is it a movie where you can leave and change your fate. Perhaps you can, but not when you care about someone. You can’t just leave them behind after doing so much to keep them safe.
When she did walk inside she saw him laying on the floor. He has to be exhausted. She’s drilling him the way her parents did. It may not be as hard, but she knows first hand how draining it can be. Not to mention the pain for getting it wrong. [#Af18ae We can stop... I know this is too much.] she says sitting down petting their pets.
To be honest she hasn’t had this much action. It is draining. This is what happens when you take breaks. You get rusty and when you need your skills to be sharp... well it’s not easy. Right now she wants to stuff her face with food, but she has a lot to do. With Luna in her arms she walks to the computer to start searching up routes back home. They need to have more than one safe route.
[b "You mean I'm not already a sexy badass?"] he called after her in his smartass tone.
The moment he was left alone, he felt himself breathe deeply for the first time in hours. Everything they had to do was weighing on his chest and his thoughts were running rapidly with no end in sight. How the ever-loving fuck was he going to pull this off without making a dangerous mistake? It wasn't just his own life, but hers also at stake. A month ago he was drunk on his couch on a Wednesday morning, and now he was helping her plan a corporate take-down against his family and the man likely responsible for his father's death.
[b "What the fuck have I gotten us into?"] he sighed into the silence.
Ignoring the throbbing in his temple, he rose from the couch to do some bodyweight training. Crunches, push-ups, and squats. Repeat the order. He was sweating all over again, but he was willing to push himself to ensure that his endurance was building up. If he got winded after fifty push-ups, he wouldn't be able to defend himself if he got caught in a violent situation.
[i Don't fuck this up.]
[i Don't lose focus.]
[i Do as she tells you.]
The words looped in his head. When he finished his impromptu workout, he collapsed on the carpet trying to catch his breath. His eyes fell closed and he pictured the last time he saw his brother. [b "Luke, what have you done?"]
Serena turns to look at him. [#Af18ae Oh I don’t trust you with a gun. But I trust I can teach the ropes. The very short and basic ropes to survive. Have you ever been electrocuted?] she asks curiously. It hurts like a son of a bitch. Especially if you’re strapped down on the chair, wet. He needs to know what to expect when being tortured. [#Af18ae I don’t like surprises for reasons you may learn very soon... depending on the situation I can let down my guard enough to somewhat accept it. But we don’t have that luxury. Ymir you ever get taken you’ll be tortured for answers. Even if you’re telling the truth. They won’t stop until they believe you and 96% of the time it’s when they kill you is when they believe you...] if it’s one thing they definitely need to do is get him to tolerate pain. In the most brutal way she was taught. If getting shot, surprised about her double life, and getting your heart broken wasn’t painful enough this would be.
The growl crawls toward him to straddle him. [#Af18ae I know this is a lot to take in. If this goes smoothly I’m cutting your sugar intake. You’ll be reward after learning everything with whatever sweetness you want for 24 hours. When I’m done with you you’ll look like a sexy badass straight out of a action movie.] Serena says grinning. [#Af18ae Because I know you, you may have 30 minutes to yourself. I was allowed 90 seconds so be grateful.] Serena went to get the other tuna so he can learn how to work each one. Everyone has a different preference on the glocks they use. During this time she’s going to set up a shoot range. Empty boxes with leafs and twigs in them, bottles with some water, fire logs, etc.
What else can she teach him? Serena plays with the dog who followed her outside. He may also need some training. Although he’s too far gone for her to treat his over grown puppy features. This is one mission she didn’t want and is afraid to lose.
Given that he was usually a fairly shitty student, Gavin did a decent job at keeping up with all of the information she was throwing at him. He'd asked her to repeat things he didn't grasp right away, but excelled at lock picking. Hand gun training was a little bit worse for wear, with his marksmanship lacking her talents.
By the end of the first day, he could feel a migraine forming. The tracking pendant she'd given him hung around his neck on a chain, tucked behind the fabric of his shirt while he continued practicing picking the locks on the handcuffs. He was trying to get through the process smoothly, using only one hand.
The handgun she'd given him lay in pieces on the table, part-way through a cleaning. He'd gotten distracted by the fact that he wasn't as fast as she was with getting out of the handcuffs, and set the gun cleaning aside. He looked rightfully stupid with his tongue poking out of his mouth in concentration, wiggling his arms as he poked around for the latch inside the cuff.
[b "Don't you judge me,"] he threw a glare at Luna. [b "Your mom has had more practice than I have."]
The cat wasn't fazed. Instead, she sprawled across the table, knocking pieces of the gun to the floor. [b "No!"] he lunged forward to pick them up before Linus could nose his way through them looking for a snack.
[b "You're clever enough,"] he huffed at Luna. [b "We should just send you in to take care of everything."]
Giving up on the handcuffs for the time being, he put his gun back together and slumped back on the couch. [b "It means a lot that you're trusting me with this, you know,"] he called to Serena, covering his eyes with a pillow to fight the headache. [b "I know it's not easy when you don't have full control over the situation. Surprises never were your thing."]
They are going to surprise them. His family probably hates her. Then again, she doesn’t know what he told them. Do they know what really happened or did he cover it up? The girl is a bit nervous to go back. They’re going to be sitting ducks. But it’s something they need to do.
[#af18ae Or maybe this is a hostage situation. Interrogation status. Honestly it can be anything.] this thing is getting sloppy. Someone has to be on to something or the bad guys are growing impatient. They need to start stepping up their game. Her game. He’s still a newbie. [#af18ae There’s this special program that’s in the dark webs. I need to get in. you can only have access to it if you’re connected. I’m a good hacker, but I wouldn’t want privilege to that crap. Those who are can’t have normal or fake life. They need to be well hidden because people will kill for unlimited access…] it could help find is brother and even the identity of the guy from the yacht.
They need to pack light. Anything can happen once when they’re back. They need to be prepared. [#af18ae Alright, gun lessons and whatever else I can think off like… using bobby pins to break free from handcuffs, how to unarm a guy point blank if it’s possible and a few moves to get out stick situations like a hair grab or choke hold. You may be alone from time to time.] Serena walks to the bedroom to get something out of her bag. This something is something her mother gave her that has a secret tracking device in it. A silver cross. [#af18ae It may be a little feminine, but it has a tracking device so it’s a must.] she even had it when he was her job. Except back then she didn’t know it was bugged. [#af18ae You can wear mines and I’ll wear my mothers. I’ll show you what you need to do in case I go missing.] she heads back to the room to get a device. [#af18ae This beautiful gadget is clones cell phones. It does take a few minutes. So we need dozens of burner phones and a few to transfer date from this device to the burner.] It was the first thing she taught him. [#af18ae I feel like I should write a few of these things down… it’s a lot to learn in so little time.] she says scratching her head. [#af18ae I once wanted to be a teacher but teaching someone this kind of thing is hard and a lot of work… I’ll rather be your lover and workout partner…] she says awkwardly laughing, before continuing the lesson.
The lesson went from the phone cloning device to picking door and handcuff locks. Even the basic gun lesson. Like where to place his fingers. What would happen if his index fingers is on the wrong location. If it’s jammed. How to load and time him loading a clip. Tomorrow is going to be combat moves. Before these criminal lessons ended she showed him some bugging devices and the magical flash drive that copies everything from a laptop or desktop. Gavin needs to learn everything he can for when he goes back and something happens when she’s away from him.
He huffed a laugh. [b "They all think I'm in rehab, so surprising them won't be a problem."]
He tried to be nonchalant about it, but the fact that Luke had been off grid for more than twenty-four hours was enough to ring alarm bells in Gavin's head. His brother was addicted to his phone, and rarely went more than an hour without electronically checking in somewhere. Social media was an addiction for Luke, as was his obsession with flaunting his wealthy lifestyle; meaning that his bank account going untouched was suspicious.
Rubbing at his hair in frustration, he tried to recall his brother's business contacts, and any upcoming board events. [b "Maybe he finally bit off more than he could chew, trying to swindle business partners,"] he sighed. [b "He was always too obnoxious. Bound to make enemies at some point."]
He wasn't sure why he felt so agitated by it. Maybe it was due to his father always insisting he fix his damaged relationships with his siblings. [i This business can go under at any time, and then all you'll have is each other,] he'd always lecture. Gavin couldn't even remember the last time his brother and sister had even invited him over for dinner.
Pushing the nagging thoughts aside, he turned to her new plan. [b "Is there something particular about this painting?"]
Serena nods. It’ll be easy to get inside and bug the place. As the meat cooks she added a few veggies in it so he can’t pick it out. He needs to eat better and workout more to keep up with this bullshit of a life style. Well it’s not that bad. This time around it is because they’re playing super dirty making it difficult.
[#Af18ae We can leave soon. Get the upper hand. Surprise everyone. Well you more than me... not sure if I should go as me or as someone else. Maria’s cover is blown and who's going to want her back after she disappeared around the same time as you is beyond suspicious.] she says adding a small amount of water to soften the veggies. She goes to the computer to go sneak into the secret back portal she created in the security program. His siblings weren’t in the building. Yet his sister swiped in. She opens up another tab to track his brother my his cellphone. It’s off. [#Af18ae Your brother seems to be off the grid. Last credit card transaction was three days ago. His phone is off and he’s not at work.] the girl continues to look for him but nothing. His sister has been active which is good or maybe suspicious.
Serena left the computer to go make some burritos. [#Af18ae If we leave soon we’ll get there morning. Unless we fly out but that can set of any alarms anyone made with your name or facial recognition.] before eating she gave their fur babies some wet food so they don’t beg them for their food. Part of her doesn’t know if this is a good move or not. She wants to get revenge but she also wants to figure crap out. Why did her parents escape? Who’s the guy on the boat? Now the question is where’s his brother? She walks back to the computer and made a call. Her friend made a very dangerous program and Serena needs access to a program. It’s sobdangerous that the government wants it. It’s call the gods eye and it’s to help search for his brother. She wants a particular painting that her father has. She needs to give them coordinates to where to find the painting. She’ll leave soon to get it ready for transport and send it over seas through a container. [#Af18ae I have to go to my parents house tonight to get a painting and ship it.] she says eating her burrito slowly.
Gavin's brow scrunched and he halted in the middle of the doorway. [b "Wait, what?"]
She'd been so intent on this plan. After Gwen getting the upper hand and nearly beating her to death, he'd been convinced that Serena would jump at the chance for any amount of retaliation. Still, she looked bothered.
[b "What's changed?"] he closed the door, stepping back into the room.
Luna appeared to sense something off in her owner, and brushed against Serena's legs to comfort her. Gavin followed the girls to the kitchen, Linus barely keeping up behind them. If her intuition was telling her they needed to back off, he wasn't about to question it. She'd not been wrong before. [b "Okay, so we just change tactics a bit. Focus more on the company. I think you're right, and I need to make an appearance at the office. Who knows what Byrnes has told everyone about where I've gone."]
He set out to help her gather food to cook. [b "If you're good at bugging phones, we can get into the department heads' cells to keep track of their conversations. Any information they give us is better than nothing. Maybe one of them knows Byrnes' end game plan when he finally has all the cash and alliances he needs."]
They'd have to fly back soon. Julienne would no doubt tell Byrnes that they'd contacted her, and he was bound to step up his pace. A red-eye flight out of there within the next few days would be ideal.
Serena isn’t liking how things are turning out. Something in the pit of her stomach is screaming don’t go. Not tonight. With what happened to her and her parents having. Not to mention a few alarms went off in one day. [#af18ae “We should stay... I’m getting a bad feeling about this. It could be a setup. We’ll have another shot... if she does try to leave someone would take her out. I’ll be sad it wasn’t me but i can’t shake this bad feeling I’m having...”] she tells him.
The girl sure isn’t happy about this. She has so much planned for that traitor. Even though she told Gavin to make something, she ended up going to the kitchen to make something to eat. Something simple. Burritos came to mind. Her mind wouldn’t stop racing. One thought after another. She was trying to make sense of recent activities. Nothing seems to be clicking.
[#Af18ae “Alright so our first order of business went to shit. What are we going to do next? Are we even going to fly go back so you can settle things with your family and the business or at least speak to your lawyer?”] she asks finishing making and setting up the burritos.
He wasn't about to deny her any form of affection. Wrapping her in his arms, he pressed a kiss to her head. [b "Yeah, they didn't look exactly happy to see me. If your dad could kill through a computer, I'm fairly sure I'd be long dead by now. I tend to have that affect on fathers."]
At the mention of food, he rolled his eyes. [b "On it,"] he acknowledge the order, moving to the kitchen.
He was pulling ingredients for a stir fry out when the alarm sounded. Rejoining her in the living room, he spotted the footage of Gwen's home. [b "Looks like food will have to wait. Get whatever you need and we'll leave in five minutes."]
He changed into jeans and a plain t-shirt, knowing that basketball shorts wouldn't exactly be functional for what they were about to do. His hair trimmers were placed in his backpack, along with a few extra rounds of ammo. And, because he's paranoid, the first aid kit soon joined the pack.
[b "Got the clippers to shave her head. May as well do her eyebrows while we're at it, don't you think?'] he asked, grabbing his keys and one of the burner phones just in case.
With one last pat for Linus, he gestured to the door. [b "Shall we?"]
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