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The bed was a mountain of crisp white sheets under the thick warmth of a snow white duvet cover. Beneath the mound his Aaliyah Cole, still sound asleep despite the late hour of the morning. He morning runs had become a thing of the past and had now been replaced by afternoon runs since she had started her new job. Working at the bar had somehow completed shifted her life and while normally the brunette would not have stood for such unapproved changes, this was something she had accepted when she took the job to try and finally live a normal...ish life.
The dogs had been fed and had since escaped outside to explore their land leaving the Diviner to sleep in. Her shift had run late the night before thanks to a stagette party. The group had insisted on staying until closing, singing karaoke until they had no voices left. At 3am, an hour after the lights had been turned on, Aaliyah and Todd finally got the group out the door and into cabs. Luckily by then, the pair had most of the cleaning done and finished up quickly before having a beer with each other. Aal had finally made it home closer to 430.
After an hour of dozing and then looking through the emails on her phone from the people that still worked for her, Aaliyah finally slipped out of bed and to her washroom to clean up and start her day. Checking the time on her phone, she growled at the late time of 1PM and shook her head. She hated it, half the day was gone! But luckily she didn't work that night so her night was her own for the first time in over a week. She brushed her teeth and quickly changed into her running gear before slipping out through the basement door to the fields behind her hours.
She stuck to the forest and mountain paths that day, her lungs protesting the more difficult run as she moved. The sun was bright, the heat from it drawing a sheen of sweat over her skin as she ran. She had dressed for the weather wearing a tank top and spandex running shorts, her hair up on a high pony tail. The dogs caught up with her at some point and she smiled at the pair as they happily trotted beside her. She loved living outside the city with no close neighbors where her loyal pets could have free range safely.
Making her way home, she lost the furry pair beneath the shade of a large oak tree where they took a break, panting. Aaliyah continued on, knowing they would make their way home eventually. As she ran home her mind wandered to the information from the emails that morning. The dark diviner still causing issues and now a new species? Would this city ever truly rest? She turned her music up for her final sprint home.
The svelte brunette had no sooner poured herself a cup of orange juice and closed the fridge and brought the glass to her lips when the doorbell rang. She frowned, not expecting any visitors and took out her earbuds before heading to the front door. A coat of sweat still glistened over her and her cheeks still held a flush from her run. Opening the door, her bright eyes revealed a hint of surprise and a sarcastic smile crossed her lips as she leaned against the door frame. "Well this is a...surprise," she purred, eyes on her guest.
Her gaze instantly warned him he'd over stepped a line accusing her of something he wasn't even sure she had done. His eyes washed over her figure and he chewed the inside of his cheek anxiously, awaiting her response.
Everson Echo considered himself a confident person. Of course, everyone has their flaws, but since moving to Evermore the Bachelor had gone from strength to strength in his eyes. His confidence had ballooned and he couldn't see any flaws. However, sat across from the diviner, accusing her of foul play, made him feel like he was a child agai, sat before his father being chastised for something he had no control over.
When she instructed him to start the car, he closed the laptop down and slid them into his bag. He took a small ear piece and slid it into his ear before starting the car. He drove the majority of the way in silence, the ear pierce playing the microphone from the main office of club they'd just bugged.
"They don't think you're gone rogue." He said softly, his blue eyes glancing towards her as he drove. "They're trying to figure out what you did to owe me such a big favor, but they don't think you've gone rogue." Echo went silent again as he pulled up outside the diviners home.
"They're talking about me mostly, wondering what a human is doing in the diviner den, but they can't track the ID number back to me, it goes to an officer that died a few weeks ago."
Killing the engine, he sat staring at her house for a moment, chewing on his bottom lip. Everson didn't want to make her his enemy, she was a strong ally to have not only for the organisation, but she was also the first female in Evermore that hadn't thrown herself at him or he'd had to pay for her time...
"Thank you." He voice softly. "For coming today....Thank you."
Sapphire orbs were cold as they watched the people casually going about their days and hustling down the city streets. While she was more relaxed now that her and Everson were in his car, her guard wasn't down fully and she watched the features of each passing human looking for signs that they weren't just out for a casual stroll and might try to stop the spy and Diviner leaving. She didn't like arguing with the human beside her nor did she like how easily he got to her and was able to draw such a response from her. She had been incredibly short, angry, and almost irrational when she had first been freed from the Pheonix and she had worked hard to change that about herself but Everson was able to draw strong reactions from her so easily.
As silence fell between the pair she finally looked away from the street as he finally started the car and placed an earbud in his ear so he could listen in. She shook her head slightly, his attention was always slightly somewhere else, never 100% in the present moment. She wondered what had brought him to where he was in his life. Everyone had their stories, some more interesting or dramatic than others but it wasn't often she really cared enough about someones story to wonder. As if he could tell her thoughts had drifted over to him, he spoke again and she let out a huff of a laugh at his words. "I could care less what they think Echo," she grumbled as the car pulled away but her gaze drifted back out the window.
She nodded, that sounded more accurate than them worrying about her. The human would be the first thing that truly made the Diviners more cautious and wary. She shrugged as he continued, her eyes finally finding his again. "Regardless, they know you aren't a real cop and it won't take them long to see I didn't go and get myself license to be an officer either," she said, biting down on her lip as they made their out of the city and into the country. She finally really relaxed, leaning against the seat and resting her head as the forest and fields shifted past. The brunette frowned at the golden glow within the sky that filtered through the trees. How had it already gotten so late?
Before long they were at her house and he was turning off the car as Aal undid her seat belt. She had her hand on the door handle, ready to get inside and shower and pour a drink but she paused again as he spoke. Turning back to him she offered a wry smile. "You're welcome. Though i didn't do it for you but I'm sure you know that," she said, her eyes still cool after his accusation earlier but her voice softer after the quiet car drive. She paused a moment longer before pushing open the door and sliding out. Standing, she stretched some of the tension from her body before bending back down, her gaze finding Everson's. "Come in for a drink if you want," she said, closing the door finally as she entered the house, closing the front door behind her so the dogs didn't get out.
The tension in the car was uncomfortable, Everson twitched a little as he drove, trying to get comfortable in the sea of tight air that lay between them. It had been a while since a woman, or person in general for that matter, had instilled such an uncomfortable air around him. Usually the women Everson paid were approachable, even the girls he picked up on nights out around the city were more comfortable to be around than the diviner beside him. But, this one seemed to be...worth it? He shook his head internally and almost rolled his eyes at the thought. How could someone get on his nerves so much, yet he enjoyed their company?
As a human, Eversons attention span needed filling and within the silence, the ear piece screeched and scrawked as the Diviners in the bar they just bugged talked about him, trying to decipher what he wanted. Aaliyah's wards and spells were working however, because none of them suspected foul play. They were curious though, and curiosity wasn't something Everson admired. His jobs were usually full-proof, not a trace left behind, but this one? There were too many unknowns...
His attention, however, wavered from the ear piece to the Diviner beside him. The closer to her home they drove, the further out of the city, the more her muscles began to unknit and she relaxed into the passenger seat. It was unusual to see, as a former ambassador you'd of thought Miss. Cole would be comfortable amongst the streets of her home...But the country surrounding the city, the glow through the tree's and the dense foliage seemed to be her distraction. A pang of jealousy filled the humans chest, he didn't have a place like that in this city...He was constantly guarded, constantly wondering whether his past was going to catch up. It was exhausting.
Pulling up, he killed the engine and turned slightly to watch her get out, stretching her long limbs. He could see the stress washing off her, the comfort of her home made her happy, it was evident in the way she held herself here. The next sentence shocked the human however, she'd invited him for a drink...Everson paused, watching her enter her home. His hands stayed on the steering wheel, an internal flight or fight display...Should he?
Finally, his body began to move. He climbed out of the car and went to close the door, hesitating. This was her peace, her happy place. Everson began shelling his pockets of all his little devices, drones and knives. He took every weapon from his being leaving only his car keys in his hand. He hoped that would be a surrender enough for her to still feel safe in her home.
Walking up the beaten path towards her door, he pushed it open and slid in before the dogs could escape. They came hurtling towards him and he had to steady himself from falling. As quick as they came, they ran back towards what he knew was the kitchen, probably back to their master and in turn Everson followed. Finding Aaliyah in the kitchen, as predicted, the Human cleared his throat to announce his entrance and then cocked his head to the side. "Anything stronger that coffee?" He asked, trying to add humor to his tone. "Whiskey perhaps?"
She could feel his hesitation as she stepped away from the car after extending her invitation to him. She didn’t know why or what made her do it but despite her anger and frustration towards the human she also wasn’t quite ready to watch him walk away just yet. Of course, if he did decline her it would not cause her to be upset either. She chewed her lip as she entered her house, not looking back towards his vehicle. He was so much like she had once been and sometimes still was with how incredibly guarded he was. She could understand that like many others couldn’t. Your safest option was always yourself. Trusting other just left room for disappointment but so did being alone. Everything was a fine balance.
She let out a little breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding onto as she finally heard the sound of his footfalls. She headed towards the kitchen, quickly shedding her jacket over one of her bar stools and filling a glass with water from the sink before leaning against the counter and listening as he closed the door behind him and struggled against her two dogs. While they didn’t jump up, their sizes still made them pushy at times. She smiled slightly and shook her head at him as he entered the kitchen. “Still standing?” she chuckled, giving a small whistle and watching both dogs lay down calmly.
Raising a brow at his question seeking something stronger she finally chuckled lightly, nodding towards the small mini bar and liquor cabinet. “Help yourself,” she said, running a hand through her hair again. “Make yourself comfortable. I need to go take a quick shower. I can still feel that dingy-ass bar all over me,” she grumbled before offering a small smile and heading down the hall to her room. She entered the bathroom and showered quickly, scrubbing the invisible remains of the bar from her skin and washing her face and hair again. She climbed out and dressed quickly into a pair of denim of shorts and a loose fitting pullover. She quickly rejoined Everson with an impish smile. “Sorry, that place was gross. I just felt dirty,” she grumbled, going over to the bar and pouring herself a cup of tequila, adding two ice cubes.
“So what are our new friends chatting about?” she asked, tapping the bug in his ear as she walked past him and opened the door out onto the large deck that overlooked the fields behind her house. Previously the fields had held several horses but they now sat empty, the long golden grass blowing in the slightly cooler evening breeze. The sun was steadily setting, a warm golden glow falling over the distant mountains and the forest around the fields. Sitting down on the patio couch, Aaliyah drew her legs up and gazed at the view, one she would never get sick of. The Golden Hour, the period as the sun was setting, was her favorite time of the day. It was also the period of time where her magic fizzled with extra life, with darkness coming in, her magic grew stronger. “Anything interesting happening with them yet?” she asked, taking a sip of the tequila before setting her glass down.
Her tone was light by the time he reached the kitchen and a smile worked its way across his lips, as if he couldn't stop it. This was new, a genuine smile, he couldn't remember the last time he didn't have to force one, but then...Miss Cole's file crossed his desk. As she chimed teasingly, he gestured to the dogs and shrugged a little. "It was close, nearly lost a finger or two." He teased back, wiggling the long fingers of his right hand before tucking it back into his pocket.
At the sound of 'help yourself' he meandered over to the mini bar and took out a crystal bottomed glass, turning it over in his fingers as he looked for a bottle of scotch. Taking a bottle out of the cabinet, he held it to the light and glanced as she spoke. "Sure." He said softly as she went to get in the shower. Pouring himself a large glass, he stayed perfectly still, not wanting to make himself at home in her home...They weren't that close yet. As she finished her shower, he watched her and her tequila wandered out to the large decking.
The sun was setting, burning it golden rays across the grass that stretched right to the forests edge. Long, finger-like shadows stretched towards the deck, a scene straigth from a childs nightmare...But to adults? The idyllic scene made his muscle soften a little. Shifting to sit beside her on the couch, he glanced at her question and shook his head, taking the little bud from his ear and placing it onto the railing of the balcony. "Nothing." He said simply.
Glancing at her, taking in the golden rays dancing across her polished cheeks, how it collided with her wet hair and showed a bunch of different hues of brown, Everson sipped at his whiskey and spoke before thinking. "Why did you never find someone else? After the Phoenix...and the Diviner?" His jaw set a little and he shook his head. "I don't mean to pry its just...Well as much as you seem to blossom in your solitude, this -" He gestured at the scene before them "- Is a lot to keep to yourself."
Pale sapphire eyes, bright and glowing against tan summer skin, stared out from the reflection in the mirror. Running a hand through dark, still wet, mocha locks the Diviner blinked, shaking her head before heading back out to rejoin the human she had invited in despite all her better judgment. While she had agreed to help him and they were getting along decently enough now she still could not let herself forget the way she had met him. He wasn't a bad person but at the end of the day she didn't trust him not to put his work first.
Bare feet slapping against the pale hardwood floors she entered the kitchen and smiles at Everson still standing around,unable to hide his awkwardness. Her lips curled in a small smile and she let out a small chuckle as she poured herself a favorable size glass of the pale tequila she enjoyed so much. Immediately she swirled her drink, ice clinking against the crystal glass as she strolled out onto the deck. The dogs, seeing where she headed, both bolted downstairs and out the basement dog doors. Dashing through the fields they went to explore the fast forests and fields they had access to.
Her head cocked to the side as he answered her question, some surprise in her gaze before shrugging and sitting down.
She would be able to find out what was being recorded soon enough. Her mind drifted, her eyes glossing over as she
gazed over the property she had used with money that she could only assume had been sent to her by her wayward bastard father in attempt to buy her forgiveness. For all the money he had sent she had never heard from him. For each account she closed in an attempt to refuse him, another had opened in her name with more cash. Eventually she gave up and just used it, ensuring he wouldn't be able to find her.
She blinked, looking back towards Everson, her pale blue one finding his rich dark eyes. In the bright sunlight she noticed hazel and speckles in his dark orbs. As she focused in on his question, she frowned a little at the privacy of what he was asking. Taking a drink she collected her thoughts before answering."Inquisitive tonight, aren't we?" she asked, digging him a little. The fact her knew about her past, including those closely involved in it annoyed her but she knew they had done it to each other and were in the same boat.
Letting out a sigh, she looked at him again. "I shared it twice before. Once for love and once for, what I later realized was nothing more than lust, for both of us," her lips curled in a cold smile as she thought of the short lived romance with the infamous Lyndon. "Now," she shrugged again, her gaze falling back towards the fields and the setting sun as her voice faded into silence for a moment. "Now, I'm not sure I want to again," she finally said, the mixed accent of her voice almost sad but also full of resolve.
Taking a long drink of her tequila, she ran her hand down her leg, wrapping both arms around them and resting her chin on her knees. "What about you Echo," she said with a cold smile. "Why did you choose the bachelor, playboy lifestyle? Daddy issues make you never want to settle down?" she bit down on her lip as the words fell from her mouth. "I'm sorry, that came out a lot more rude than I intended. You don't need to answer that. Just ignore me," she said quietly, sitting straighter again and finishing her glass.
The day was slowly swindling to an end and the sight from her porch was something out of a storybook. The way the gold shone from every leaf and fern, the shadows beneath not dark, but more of a burnt orange, burning the ground. The sky was a melted array of pinks, oranges and towards the horizon a deep purple that signalled the end of another day. Everson sighed slightly, relaxing a little with the thought that he could get used to this. Immediately, a shiver ran down his spine and he had to rearrange his muscles a little, this wasn't his life. His life was a desk in a basement.
As she said about him being inquisitive, A chuckle bubbled from his lips and he shook his head. "No, i know the facts, the paper trail of you...I want to know the truth...For me, not work."
The word lust almost made him scoff. Everson did everything for lust. "Maybe its time to find forever?" He said simply, as if it were as easy as that for someone to find the one. Then, her light tone asked about him and he laughed humorlessly. "No, i know pretty much everything about you..." He sighed and shrugged again. "I mean, to be honest, Daddy issues are true." He took the last of his drink and placed the glass aside, clasping his hands together and picking absently at the nails.
"My mother was a hooker that my father paid to hide in an apartment, then when i was born, he pawned me off to a group of nannies so he didn't have to see me....And i did everything i could to be seen." A frown knitted his brows together and he avoided her gaze.
"So yes. Daddy issues ruined me. I ran an empire and was brought up with the mentality that partners were too much work...16 birthday, a hooker. 21st birthday, 3 hookers...And so on"
Finally, Everson glanced at her and his frown turned bitter. "I've never had a girlfriend...So, theres some ammo for your insults."
Shaking her head with a small chuckle as he explained himself. "Your asking for your own curiosity does not make me want to tell you any more," she said teasingly before letting out a sigh. She fell silent, her pale gaze taking in the view again, watching a few lone, light wisps of clouds drift before the sun before she answered him, explaining the past of her home and her relationships.
She almost laughed hysterically at his question but she could tell he wasn't joking when he asked. "I think forever has sailed for me," she muttered, her eyes hard as they locked with his. "Why do you care about the truth anyways? Aren't guys in your kind of role only supposed to care about the facts, not the fairy tale stories that everyone thinks they live?"
Her next questions for him were harsh and clipped and despite that it wasn't her intention for the to come across that way there really was only way what she said would have come across. She blinked in surprise as he answered calmly though his tone was filled with cold humor. Her sapphire optics rolled as he told his tale. Like hers, most of his she already knew but he provided his perspective that the paperwork could. She laughed lightly as he described his birthdays, nodding as she took a drink before remembering she only had ice left. "Sounds like you," she agreed, offering a wry smile before rising to her feet.
Her eyes narrowed for a moment before she shrugged, her loose sweater slipping over one shoulder. "Lots of people go through life without relationships," she answered simply, surprised she would use that little fact to insult when he knew about her past. "Maybe that's been my mistake," she answered, rising to her feet. "Went over 60 years a prisoner only to be free and suddenly try relationships when I probably have the maturity for relationships of a 15 year old," she chuckled.
"Top up?" she asked, wiggling her empty glass before reaching for his and heading into the kitchen and the liquor cabinet again. Setting both glasses down, she rested both palms against the wooden bar, letting out a sigh before re-pouring them both fresh drinks. She didn't mind talking about her failures. She had come to terms with them all long ago; Leonardo, Lyndon, they were all just steps to get where she was and she regretted nothing. But that didn't stop some bitterness from lingering in her tone when she spoke about them.
"Here," she said, handing the human his glass and setting her down, getting to work removing the lid from the fire pit and turning on the propane gas. With the sun steadily setting, the late summer evenings were starting to get cooler sooner. Sitting down again, her eyes shifted amber for a brief moment and flames danced to life in the fire pit. Shifting back to sapphire she grabbed her glass again and returned her gaze to the darkening golden fields...
His features stayed cold, not only the defence mechanism he'd built for himself, but also because her questions were hard to talk about and even harder to think about. Everson had never truly reflected on his life, He was a man, 30 years of age, who had never been loved. Not by a mother or father or by any significant other, He'd never had a pet to fill the void...Nothing. So how was a man like that supposed to believe in the dumbfounded concept of love?
Her features reflected his own, something they had in common, as it seemed her walls came flying up. "I like facts, but I reached a point moving here, that I want to live the life I should have." He said simply, staring out into the forest, not really seeing. "I want to go on a rollercoaster. I want to go camping, I want to talk all night with someone about everything and nothing all at the same time -" He paused, finishing his drink and taking a steadying breath, before continuing. "-I want to be loved and I want to love...I don't think thats too much to ask for as a condemned man."
Eversons features softened as she said 'sounds like you' and he flashed her a wide, toothy grin. "I have lived the life a lot of men dream of..." His smile faded some, to a more wistful one. "But I don't choose that anymore."
He scoffed then and ran his fingers through his hair, his stony expression returning. "That all sounds a bit soft ey Miss. Cole?" Shaking his head, he raised his glass as she asked if he wanted a top up. He watched her as she left, then returned his gaze to the last rays of light before the world was dipped into darkness. He'd revealed a lot to this woman, More than he'd ever revealed.
Allowing his gaze to skim over the firepit, he watched the flames as she returned, accepted the glass from her with a plastered on smirk. "Maybe I just need to find better Hookers in this town." His tone was stiff and unconfident.
No, He didn't want that...But was he ready for something more?