Giselle looked to the Evermore daily for the hundredth time, this weeks headline was in fact about her but for reasons she didn’t think would ever happen to her. Reading the headline once again she felt a sting in her chest ‘Deputy Mayor Stood Up’ Oh how Linda didn’t mind taking shots at her over the date that was paid for by a man who she was sure was not Joseph Smith at all. She looked to the photo of her standing alone at the mini golf course next to the bear holding the sign. While she plastered a smile on for the camera she could remember the tears that wanted to spill over as she came to understand she was stood up.

She remembered calling him that night after she played the round of golf by herself not giving Linda the satisfaction of seeing her sad. She had tried not to cry leaving him the voicemail though she was sure he gave her a fake number. “Joseph ah hi.” she sniffled into the phone. “I was giving you a call to see if you were okay. Ah I did the date by myself didn’t want Linda to gloat about how I can’t even pay someone to come on a date with me. Though it didn’t stop her.” she sighed softly “I… I hope you have a good life.” she muttered into the phone “Good bye.” she let out a faint cry before hanging up on his voicemail.

Giselle was pulled back to what she was working on after reliving the call she had left him. Sighing heavily as she looked to the screen in front of her before picking up her phone calling Ben to confirm their work out later before she switched her call to something more serious with Lachlan of the police department. “Hey Lachlan, anything new to report?” she asked as she looked through some of her emails mindlessly.

“No Giselle.” Lachlan replied into the phone “But the description you gave me is not enough to find Wayland. We both know that there is more going on.” He said with a heavy sigh. “But as for the Joseph Smith guy I sent you that in an email.” He said. “If you can tell me anything else about Wayland I will be here Just let me know.”

As the email pinged from Lachlan she held the cursor over and took a deep breath. “Will do Lock, let me know if you find anything.” she said hanging up on him without a goodbye opening the email. Her stomach sunk as she looked at the folder of the much older man who was in fact Joseph Smith. She placed her hand over her lips to keep herself from crying out. After looking through everything else, she accepted that the man she met that night was not Joseph. A sinking feeling of wanting to know why he pretended to be Joseph at all.

She was confused, hurt and a swell of other emotions. With a heavy sigh she stood from her desk locking it. She need a break, a coffee something to keep her mind from swirling with reasons who he was and why he got close to her that night. She picked up her bag and moved out of City Hall down the street to the best coffee house in town. Blue Cup. She walked in looking around to the room full of people most on their laptops typing away. That was when her eyes caught the thick tuff of curls on his head the man that stood her up.

She turned her head to the barista in front of her ordering her coffee and stood there for a moment before turning to where he sat. He looked busy clicking away on the key, she wondered if he even noticed her, if he even cared. She was never brave but he made her felt that way that night. Swallowing her fears she crossed the Cafe and sat in the chair across from him. Reaching in her bag she pulled out the Evermore Daily that she had been hanging on to and tossed it over his hands. “Who are you and what do you want from me?” She asked in a sharp tone, though looking at him made the tears well in her eyes even if she manage to swallow them back.

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Heartbreaker. Well he’d been called many things but never that before he thought to himself as he scrolled through the comments on the discussion board, he knew everyone in the community had been talking about how he’d taken things to the next level but all he had been able to think about was the way she had been looking at him before they said their goodbyes. Rowan grunted, closing his laptop in frustration unable to even look at the the words without being filled with guilt. He didn’t do what he did to hurt people or mess up their lives, at least not good people anyway and yet here he was.

He’d stayed up that night, debating whether to show face, whether he could get away with playing his persona one last time but in the end he had come to conclusion that it was too much of a risk, he knew being caught out in this particular con would put him behind bars for years and he couldn’t put his trust in the fact that Giselle wouldn’t press charges, especially when she found out he lied about everything. He had paced back and forth along the floors knowing she’d probably show up alone. It caused his heart to sink in his chest, realizing exactly what he’d caused and knowing there was nothing he could say or do to fix it. He had eventually exhausted himself with guilt until he passed out on the couch.

Her call had woken him, his eyes had stared at the burner phone knowing exactly who would be on the other line, he’d wanted to answer it, wanted to explain it to her so that she would understand, wanted to make up for the fact that he couldn’t be there for her but instead he just stared at it, waiting until the rings stopped. He had squeezed his eyes shut and tried to fall back asleep but he just laid there in silence until he heard the sound of a voicemail. He hadn’t wanted to listen it, knowing that it would only make him feel worse and yet he dialed the service, laying in silence as he listened to her voice on the other end of the line.

He could hear the rasp in her voice as she was clearly trying to hold back emotion, the words she spoke hurt about as much as he expected them to, his hand clutched over his chest as he felt tears surface. He told himself this was for the best and letting her get close to him would simply lead to this down the line but that didn’t stop the tears that rolled down his cheeks as he heard her cry before she ended the call. He reached up to wipe them away throwing the phone across the room not caring if it smashed in the process.

He forced himself out of the memories tucking his laptop into his bag and getting to his feet, he’d been doing his best to stay away from listening to the bug’s captures because he couldn’t stand the feeling he got every time he heard her voice and so he had given a trusted contact access to collect any relevant information he might need. Today he was trying to focus on getting into a hard to crack system which he hoped would get him some significant breakthrough for his current client. He sighed softly, what a complicated situation he had  gotten himself into.

He headed for the door climbing down the stairs and walking out onto the streets of Evermore, he didn’t really have a destination, just wanted to walk for a little and attempt to clear his mind from the brunette. Rowan had never felt so conflicted about something he had done in his life, normally a job was a job and it ended once he handed over the information but this one, this one felt so personal that it hurt, not to mention it had hurt someone who didn’t deserve it. His walking brought him to one of the local coffee shops and without much of a thought he wandered inside ordering a latte and heading over to one of the corner booths.

With a long breath he pulled out his laptop and closed the chats, instead pulling up the command terminal and begin his coding session. The Scot sat for a good 15 minutes sending crypto commands through his VPN but the security of this particular hit was going to take something more upscale. He grunted in frustration as he moved on to looking for a toolset that could do what he needed it to when he heard a sound across from him. Surprised his ocean hues turned to the newspaper that dropped onto his keyboard, in a panicked reaction he locked the laptop, though his whole body cringed a little as he heard her voice. Fuck.

He was half tempted to make a run for it in order to avoid this particular confrontation but she’d positioned herself in a place that would make things much more difficult. His mind was whirring as he tried to figure out what to do or say, how much did she know? Did anyone else know she was here? He looked like a child who had been caught eating cookies they weren’t allowed as he turned back towards her. Meeting her eyes he felt like his heart sank in his chest, she looked rightfully angry “Giselle…” he spoke softly, his voice unable to cover the guilt he felt in that moment “Believe me you don’t want me to answer those questions” he looked down unable to hold her gaze under his own shame. He pushed the newspaper away turning it over so that he didn’t have to look at the print.

“I know it probably doesn’t mean much now but I am sorry for not showing up” he spoke honestly, he didn’t think he would have felt so bad about it than he did.

Giselle use to carry such a clear outlook on her life, she believed there was no such thing as the one or love. Everything that had happened in her life had proved that over and over again. Her father murder her mother all over some other woman using his own daughter as a pawn. Locking her in a mental institute for a good part of her life. Only person who had showed her kindness in her life had been Samuel. She should have known better to get her feeling involved like Sam use to say ‘Romance is a terrible idea. Either you get left heart broken or your break someone's heart in the end.’ It was a phrase she had lived her life by till she met the non Joseph She never saw herself getting her heart broken, who was she this was so unlike her.

Yet here she was sitting in front of him confronting him over something normally she would have written off the date as a failed experience. Yet this one she couldn’t let go of. Something felt different about everything that had happened. He came into her life and after one night complicated feelings within her. She held the anger expression the best she could when looking at him after all she had a right to be pissed at him. As his Scottish accent came out thickly saying her name she had to flick her chocolate gaze away from him, “Don’t. You have no right to say my name when I don’t even know yours. Cause you clearly are not Joseph smith.” she said reaching for her phone pulling it open to the email Lachlan had sent her.

She opened the photo of Joseph Smith and showed it to him “This is Joseph Smith. Did you just want to crash the police ball? For what reason? Did someone ask you to get close to me?” A new swirl of fear raised in her mind that maybe he was working for Wayland and that this was his way to catch her off guard. “The fact of the matter is I need answers.” She said as she sat her phone down on the table. Crossing her hands together to not have the risk of him touch her. She may not be able to keep the strong stance she was pushing forward like she  was at the moment if he touched her.

“I am in a position of power in this city.” she said sharply “I have people who want me dead. I have people who want to use my power to get close to things that they shouldn’t know about.” she stated clearly pulling her brown gaze to rest on him. Her expression turn from anger to one of pain. “I need to know your intentions that night, why you showed up under the name of someone else and even bought a date with me. If it was because you were bored fine say so I will get up and leave this table right now and we never have to see one another again.” She said honestly, “I have a lack of a love life for a reason.” this would just be another reason for her to avoid dating, it was like life lessons need to nail their way into her heart.

Giselle scoffed to him though at his statement of saying he was sorry for not showing up. “If you were sorry you would have reached out. It's not like I am that hard to find.” she said “I work for city hall, you are legit in a cafe that isn’t but a short walk from here. It was like you settled yourself her with your computer in hopes that I would see you and get a whole new wave of hurt.” she pulled her hands to rest on her phone for a moment as she tried to think of how to phrase what she could next. Letting her eyes rest on the laptop for a long moment “How do I know you don’t work for the man who wants me dead? Or maybe you work for the Evermore Daily and Linda put you up to the whole date thing? Just give me a reason to trust that you are not going to hurt me anymore then you have.” She picked up her phone sliding it open turning the camera on “That or I call my friend who works in law enforcement and he can question you.” She said while acting like she was dialing the phone but really was taking a photo of him to send to Lachlan.

There was no excusing what he had done, Rowan had essentially chosen to screw someone over for the sake of his own safety, it wasn’t like you said no to a crime boss of Evermore city, nor did you show up empty handed but he didn’t feel great about what decisions he had made, he certainly hadn’t expected to feel something for the brunette, hadn’t expected to find himself so torn up with feelings that he had been tempted to go back on the whole deal and tell her the truth. But Rowan wasn’t an idiot, doing that would only put Giselle in danger and that was the last thing he wanted.

Rowan held his breath as she responded, he couldn’t blame her for being angry, had the tables been turned he would have been furious too and as he looked down at the photo that she held out to him on her phone he swallowed hard, so she hadn’t been able to let this go then. Rowan had worried that she might be able to figure it out, might question it when he didn’t show up for the date, he knew he should have gone completely under the radar for a few weeks though he hadn’t expected her to show up in a coffee shop of all places. Realizing the bug would be listening in on them, he quickly tapped onto his laptop, causing interference that would screw with the audio, it wasn’t the first time the chip had done such a thing, it reacts strangely near microwave ovens so he helped it would be enough to cover tracks.

He looked up at her meeting her gaze, trying to gauge whether she was going to let this go, he feared that she wouldn’t which only made him more concerned for her safety, if he got taken into prison he knew for sure that everyone involved in this whole thing would likely end up dead, himself and the brunette included and he couldn’t allow that to happen. The Initia was debating in his mind how much he could let her in on without putting her in danger. He concluded very little, considering that he knew she would want to go after the people who forced him into this and those weren’t people that anyone messed with and lived to tell the tale.

“I can’t” he responded with a shake of his head, he knew that wasn’t the response he wanted but he was fine with her hating him if that kept her safe. The problem was that he knew she wouldn’t be for as long as that chip was in her phone. The one he had put there. He had betrayed her trust that night and there was never going to be a way for him to get that back, but he supposed he could try and right his wrongs now “I really wish I could tell you, things would be so much easier if I could” he admitted with a grimace. Part of him wanted to just follow along with her words, wanted to tell her that he was simply bored and looking for a game to play, but Rowan couldn’t bring himself to say it, couldn’t bring himself to sever that tie completely.

He was doing his best not to get riled up by her words, he knew she was just confused and upset but it was hard not to feel all the daggered words she sent towards him. He needed a way to convince her that he was sorry for what he had done, frankly, he wanted no part in the underground crime scene but these weren’t people you just pissed off. “You are playing a very dangerous game right now” Rowan warned her, his eyes showing sincerity, the mob wanted nothing from her personally but if they found out she was about to bust their operations then she would for sure be added to their hit list. And then when she pulled her phone out he had an idea. Looking the brunette straight in the eyes he nodded slightly, well it was time to test if she really wanted a reason or if she was just looking to trap him “When I give you the signal I need you to punch me” he didn’t give that any time to settle in before Rowan tapped his laptop keys once more, re-enabling the the bug before he switched into a well practiced and convincing American accent that sounded almost nothing like him “C’mon sweetheart, just one drink, you know you want to” he purposely leaned in close to her and then nodded, waiting to see if she would play along with what he was asking her to do.

The thoughts running through her mind on if he would just give her a reason, a single reason on why maybe she could forgive him.  She wanted a reason to forgive him, out of everyone who had ever screwed over the brunette she was easy to move on and hold her head high. Yet this man in front of her, the man with light brown locks that did their own thing, blue eyes still as piercing as the day they met, hadn’t left her mind since they left each other the night of the ball. She wanted a reason to keep him in her life, selfishly, he caused emotions she thought dead a long time ago to surface.

After holding the phone there taking his photo her chocolate optics rested heavy on the man in front of her that looked like he was waging a battle within himself to answer her questions or not. She held her breath without though hoping that he would try and sooth over all the fears that she had. She had hoped he was not one of Wayland- the Valkyr who murder her mother in cold blood - minions. She wasn’t sure if she could handle finding out if he was or not, but she need answers.

As he stated he couldn’t let her know what was going on her heart sank, her stomach churned as she sat the phone down on the table once again. She let out the breath she had forgotten she was holding and just stared at him with an expression of pure hurt etched into her features.  “You don’t wish you could,” she muttered to him softly as she ran her hand through the ends of her locks trying to compose herself before someone took a photo of her and set it to the Evermore daily. “If you truly wish you could, then you would.” Yet her mind wondered why did he not just act like every jerk who wanted to blow a girl off. Though if that was what he wanted wouldn’t he have gone home with her that night? He was so adamant that night about putting her in a taxi and her getting home safely and alone.

She felt like she was in an emotional wind tunnel as she looked to him, raising a brow as he stated she was playing a dangerous game. Her stomach churned again as she leaned closer “Wouldn’t be the first time I got into trouble to get answers.” Well that was a lie and a half there, she hated getting into something she couldn’t get out of. She had to be saved by others more then once when it came to the trouble she had gotten into, even if it was not by her own design.  Yet his eyes held a sincerity that she could not feel was fake at all. How could someone like him screw her over if it wasn’t for a reason. She need to hope that he was doing this for a reason, whatever it may be.

Confusion crossed her face at his request, everything the man in front of her could say those were not the words she was expecting. She watched him, the confusion only deepening when he switched from a Scottish to an awful American accent. The closer he leaned the moment she realized that this was his way of signaling her to punch him. She looked around before balling up her fist.  “You lost your chance for a drink, and for anything you ass Joseph Smith.” and with that and all of the lessons her and Ben had done, Gielle took a swing at Rowan, letting her fist connect with his cheek. “Ow fuck.” she muttered pulling her hand back shaking it before rubbing her redden knuckles. Her eyes looked around to the deafening quiet that seemed to collect as everyone in the coffee shop looked to them. Her stomach churned yet again as she realized she was going to be on the cover of Evermore daily once again, over the same man but this time she had assaulted him, tears welled in her eyes and her cheeks became flushed as she looked back to him hoping her humiliation was enough to end the lies.

Rowan had never been the kind of person who purposely hurt others, he just got himself into really difficult situations, usually because of his hacktivist mentality or because it was very easy for a hacker to get themselves into very illegal situations. He was guilty of being greedy and selfish at times but never before had he truly hurt someone in the name of his decisions. But seeing the hurt on the brunette’s face as she looked back at him, he knew he had really fucked up. And the problem was that things could get much worse if he didn’t handle this properly. As much as he told himself he knew what he was doing, often he didn’t.

He hated to disappoint her and he hated how much danger she would be in because of him, he knew planting the bug had been a mistake that night and that he never should have even gone to that stupid party. If he’d never met her then he wouldn’t be feeling this overwhelming and all-consuming pit of guilt in his stomach right now “It’s never as simple as that” he responded with a slight shake of his head, Rowan already knew he had screwed this up past the point of saving so his priority was making sure she let this go and that she could live her life safe and happy, that she wouldn’t suffer any more hurt in the name of what he had done.

He was an idiot for letting himself feel anything for this girl, for pulling her in close that night, for wanting to kiss her so badly, if he could just detach his emotions from all of this then he would have been able to do what he needed to do without. But as he looked back at her, his bright oceanic eyes meeting her deep hazel ones, he knew there was no way he would be able to feel nothing towards her, somehow it one night she had been able to get under his skin in a way no one else had achieved before. “This is not the kind of trouble you walk away from alive” he scolded with an unimpressed expression, she was making it very hard for him to protect her.

The moment her fist connected with his face he recoiled back and grunted a little, damn she had quite the punch to her, but he quickly steadied himself and purposely made the sounds of a struggle by leaning on and pushing over the chair next to him and then his hand went for her phone. With swift movements, he pulled the back of the casing off, took out the bug and threw it to the ground before crushing it under his foot. The whole time he did so he stood next to her so it looked from onlookers like he was reacting to being punched, though his eyes remained on her throughout. Well, she wanted a reason to know he wasn’t trying to hurt her anymore and here it was.

He saw the look of embarrassment fill her expression as the place quietened but the outburst had done the trick, it was believable enough that it wouldn’t be questioned and while he would get some complaints, it was out of his control and he could probably take the hit for it. He saw the way she was clutching her fist and naturally his hand went to his cheek where she had hit him with full force. Instead of worrying about himself he wanted to reach out for her hand and make sure that she was going to be okay. But he was playing a character right now and their audience needed the ending to the show. “Give it about 10 minutes and then go to the park on Walker Street” his voice was low “or don’t, your choice” he wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t show.

And just like that, the sincerity dropped from his expression and the angry American sleazeball was back “Stupid bitch, you aren’t even worth my time away, do you know many girls would kill for this” he was pretty convincing at times, being who he was he often had to play characters. He grabbed his things from the table and pushed past her and stormed towards the door and out of the shop. His hands were shaking at his side as he stepped out onto the streets of Evermore. He’d never gone against a job before and he had to hope like hell he didn’t get found out. Giselle, she seemed to make him do irrational things he normally wouldn’t dream of doing.

Technically he could have used that as an out and run away, he could have gone dark and that would probably be the last that she saw of him. But despite his better judgment, he wanted the chance to explain to her, even though he didn’t expect her to understand or forgive him. And so he went exactly where he said he would be, the park on Walker Street, it was about 2 blocks walk away which gave him time to process what he had done and worry over the consequences. He chose this place because it was large and almost always empty, the neighborhood tended not to be nosy and he didn’t have to worry too much about anyone of note seeing them together.

So he sat there on a bench, waiting to see if she would come.

Nothing was easy, ever for her. From the moment of her conception it seemed the universe was set to use her as a pawn. She knew better then to trust anyone, yet she did. So desperate for affection she let her guard down. She knew after this she would put her walls up, focus on work, maybe adopt a cat or dog. She held a strong face as she stared at him taking in his blue eyes sure it would be the last she saw of them. That caused her heart to sink more than she wished, more than she like to think she would ever admit to another.  

‘This is not the kind of trouble you walk away from alive’ That statement chilled her to her core, what had this man got himself and herself into. As her fist flew connecting to him, the soft crunch in her hand making her rub the ache that throbbed there. Her first thought was how Ben would have scolded her over the poor technique she throw the blow. Yet she throw it in an act of anger and following his instruction, so she was sure she hit him much harder then she should have. She could tell by the slight shocked look before correcting himself.

Her eyes watched as he took her phone taking the bug out of it, another wave of confusion and anger swirled through her.  She sat there embarrassed and confused, the tears welling in her eyes for a moment as she finally was putting something together though she still didn’t have all the pieces though.. As she rubbed on her hand as she had so many questions yet she couldn’t make her voice work. Giving him a nod she watched him curse her out in his horrible american accident and then left. She looked to her coffee she no longer wanted and picked up the napkin. Blinking away the tears as she struggled with if she was going to go see him or not.

As her photo was taken she looked up to the person behind the camera to see Linda. A heavy sigh left her lips as she moved standing up. “Don’t you have something better to do then follow my tragic life?” she scoffed as Linda hand shot out taking hold of her arm stopping her from leaving.

“Wayland says hello.” Linda gave a dark smile.

Giselle felt herself yank her arm free before looking to her. “What did you say?” she hissed out lowly.

“I said Thanks for the scoop.” Linda still wore the dark smile as she left the cafe. Giselle felt her hand tremble as she looked around looking for Wayland.

Once she was sure he wasn’t there she had no concept of time that had passed. She pulled her jacket around her and left the cafe letting her feet carry her, she should have gone back to the office. Yet she needed answers, and with the threat of Wayland fresh in her mind she worried that he was a pawn of the darkest part of her pass. Two blocks and she stood there watching him as he sat on the bench. Taking a deep inhale she crossed closer to him sitting beside him on the park bench.

She was quiet for a long moment before she rested her hands on her knees. “I have so many questions.” she said softly as she looked out to the park as children played on the playset. “So clearly you lied to me about who you were. You bugged me?” her voice broke at that. “Why?” she asked her hazel gaze finally moving to him as she could no longer hold the angry face she had. Her face fell, she was shaken and hurt and the fear that he could be working for Wayland was to much. “You said this isn’t the kind of trouble you can walk away from…” She locked her fingers together. Holding them so tight that her knuckles began to turn white. “Can you tell me who you work for? Is it him?” she question her eyes darting around.

Her paranoia was raising and she felt her nervous tics aching to sooth her. Yet she wanted to keep her composure together as she tighten her grips on her hand. “Joseph...I mean...God I don’t even know your name.” She tilted her head back letting her hair fall back showing the scars on her neck from electroshock therapy, not that most would know what the scars where. “Do I even get to know your name?” she asked in frustration.

He sat there for the full ten minutes, head in hands as he questioned every choice he had made for the past few weeks. He could hear all the people around him but he still felt alone, alone in his own mistakes and regrets. If he could go back to that night he would have done things so differently, he wouldn’t have hurt anyone like this. But now his decisions had been made and nothing would be the same again, he couldn’t be seen with her, not without giving away who he was, he was lucky that no one managed to snap a picture of his face before he got out of there because then he really would be in trouble right now.

After 10 minutes had passed he shrugged figuring that she hadn’t decided to show, he couldn’t blame her for that, after everything he had done, she didn’t owe him anything other than the pain he currently felt on his face from her punch. He could tell she had some physical training from that one hit because it really did pack quite the power and he hadn’t been expecting it at all. He was about to get up and leave when he spotted her there, just across the distance and then she approached and took a seat next to him. He couldn’t bring himself to look at her because he knew it would bring another wave of guilt over him that he simply didn’t know how to handle. Instead, he stayed quiet and just listened to her talk.

Well they had to trust one another somehow and he was the one who had done all the betraying so it only seemed fair that he gave her as much truth as he could, at least to convince her to not delve further into this and get herself in even more danger “I bugged you yes” he admitted with a nod. When she asked him why he went silent as he searched for the words “I fell in with a bad crowd who offered my name up to a pretty high up in the crime scene of Evermore, I don’t know their name but I’m not stupid enough to turn them down, they wanted the mayor bugged” he let out a long breath, he wasn’t proud of any of this, still wasn’t. When she asked who he worked for and mentioned the name him his eyes flicked over to her in confusion “I wish I could tell you more, but I didn’t try and get a name and you shouldn’t either” he pursed his lips for a moment “I know I’m not in any position to tell you what to do but these aren’t the kind of people you fuck with” he still regretted his part in all of this though and he hoped she at least believed that.

He cringed a little when she spoke the fake name he had given her, his eyes scanning over her as she leaned back in frustration, the scars on her neck were hard to miss, though he’d never seen ones in those patterns before. He pressed his lips together and didn’t mention it, instead focusing on the question she had asked him. Was he able to tell her his name? It was a big leap of faith considering she could take the information and deliver it straight to the police and send him under though he got the feeling if she intended to do that then she wouldn’t be here right now. “Rowan” he admitted, his Scottish accent evident in his tone as his spoken “My name is Rowan” he clarified as he looked into her eyes, seeing the hurt and betrayal in them as she gazed back at him “God” he spoke it like a curse word as he craned his neck to the side “I fucked this one up so bad” he spoke and then nodded “I know it’s too late but you should know I’m sorry, it wasn’t fair of me to drag you into this”.

Not to mention from her paranoia and the way she was checking around he got the impression that the ‘him’ from earlier scared her “Are you in some kind of trouble?” Rowan asked showing concern in his expression, man he wasn’t supposed to let his emotions get involved with anyone and yet here he was, worrying about her.

Giselle cursed herself in her mind for acting like a love sick child after all, what was the point of getting answers from him. He played her was there really a good reason for it? Yet she needed answers, though she doubted the would take the pain she was feeling away. She was no stranger to physical pain but the ache that was burning in her chest and stomach was a whole new pain she didn’t understand. Deep down she just wanted him to say something that would make it easy for her to forgive him, for her to trust him again.

So she sat quietly and listen to him as he spoke of how he had bugged her dude to falling in with a crime organization. Her gaze raced along the ground as she took in the information that there was a crime organization that wanted the Mayor bugged, and while she had been deputy mayor when they met, things where changing quickly and she was to be taking over in a weeks time as Mayor of Evermore.”So they wanted the mayor bugged? Any certain reason for that?”

Her eyes looked into his confused gaze as he didn’t seem to understand her statement about it being him. Which eased her fears that he was working for Wayland willingly. “You are right, you are not in any kind of position to tell me who to fuck with or not with.” she said back coldly but then her face couldn’t help but soften slightly “You shouldn’t be caught up with these people also, you said you fell in with the wrong crowd but how? Is there anyway out for you?”  She believed him whether it was naive to or not too she just wanted to cling to that shred of hope that he wasn’t trying to hurt her out right. She was so used to being used that it was a surprise she even let him get past her walls she built.

Though she was trying to hold them up as they talked, she knew it wasn’t working. She didn’t expect to learn his name so easily if she was being honest, So when she heard his scottish accent speak the name Rowan her head fell from gazing up to look at him for a long moment. Her eyes soften as he uttered his apology, her hand reaching out and touching the back of his gently and she let out a soft breath to steady herself for a moment. “Rowan, you have a horrible american accent.” she uttered giving a short laugh as she smiled a sad smile to him. “Yeah you fucked this one up, but I am not sure if you mean because you failed your mission or if its because you hurt me.” She said her hand applying gentle pressure to his before she pulled it back.

“Well I have been dragged into this now.” she said gently as her mind was still trying to process what she should do, she knew she should turn him in but part of her couldn’t bring herself to do so. Her eyes scanned one last time looking for Wayland or even Linda at this point to make sure no one was there. She stiffened at his question for a moment before she stood up from where she sat needing the movement to calm her nerves. “I don’t know if I am or if I am not at the moment.” she said truthfully as she crossed her arms one over the other “Difference is I don’t plan on pulling you into my trouble if there is some.” she found herself caring far too much for the man there in front of her. "I'll be honest I am really confused on what to do right now. The smart part of me would take you in and have the law deal with you." she looked away from him as she breathed out. "The other part of me just wants to keep you safe, though I don't think you would let me."

He didn’t really have a choice but to be honest with her, if he didn’t then he was probably going to end up in jail, just like he had been attempting to avoid all this time, he hated working for people, usually told them he preferred to work alone and it wasn’t a lie, he didn’t really feel like he could trust people. “I have no idea” he responded “But from the work you do, I’d assume they’re looking for intel on people” at least, he supposed that would be the case, something to use against people in power should it ever be needed. His target had been Adrien of course but in the end, he had actually bugged the future mayor of Evermore.

When he heard the coldness in her voice he stiffened up a little and then lowered his gaze, okay, he deserved that and then some after he’d done what he had to her and while she had been a stranger to him when they met, she felt much less like one now. He had wanted to kiss her so badly that night and something about her had stayed with him since, no matter how much he didn’t want it to “Yeah I know” he spoke guiltily and yet he was still trying to find a way to convince her for her own safety “Not everyone is a rich child with rich parents” he admitted, still unable to look at her “I did some things when I was younger than I’m not proud of and they followed me” he explained as he twiddled his fingers “I was young and I had ideas about how the world should be and” he shrugged “they have proof of something I did that could put me away for even longer than you could” he was young and he did some hacktivism things that he thought made a difference at the time “If they want me alive that is” he let out a shaky breath.

He wasn’t trying to make her feel sorry for him, he did what he did and if she was smart, she would probably turn him into the authorities, it had been a mistake but at the time she was just a job to him and nothing more, it wasn’t until he met her and got to know her that his mind was changed but by then, it was too late to back out. Her comment on his American accent made him laugh, scrunching up his nose a little “Yeah well the papers bought it and that’s all that really matters” he felt bad for making her look bad in the press, especially because she was in such an important position “I don’t care about the mission” he admitted with a half shrug “I’ve made my share of mistakes and it’s probably time I started owning up to them but” he sighed “You weren’t supposed to be so nice” he admitted as he looked at her, his eyes dropping a little in shock as she reached for his hand and his thumb moved over her skin as though he was checking this was real.

“I didn’t want to hurt you, I wasn’t supposed to mean enough to hurt you” he admitted as he looked into her eyes, the conflict clear in them, but he had done the right thing now and she could live in peace knowing this was over after this “And I’ll understand if you want to march me down to the police station, hell knows you should and are owed that” he had no doubts about the things he did being wrong, he knew that but somehow he kept finding himself doing them anyway, he kept hurting people in the name of his own selfishness but he wouldn’t do that to her again “But if you do, you should know they’ll know I told you and it’ll paint a target on your back” he spoke softly as he gave a conflicted expression “That’s not me trying to get out of it, that’s me worried about your safety” as dumb as it was, he just wanted to make sure she was safe and he could see the paranoia in her eyes throughout this whole time and not all of it was attributed to him.

“No one’s going to hurt you while you’re here, okay” he assured her because she looked so afraid and he wanted to wrap her in his arms and show her that the world couldn’t get to her, his voice was hesitant as he reached out to touch her shoulder in a comforting motion, he knew he shouldn’t and he knew he might get himself punched but he couldn’t help it “I don’t think there’s anything you could really do” he grimaced a little “I’ve made my bed” he nodded “But I’m glad I could do the right thing, for once” he knew he was going to get questioned hard on what happened and that he wouldn’t be the last person to come after her either, not unless they already got the information they wanted. His blue eyes leaned down to meet her chocolate hues and he sighed “Seeing you and everything you’ve achieved in good name it, uh” he gave a slightly shy smile “I guess it makes me wish I was a better man and that we could have met for real that night” but instead, he had been posing as someone else, the same way he always did to get way he wanted.

Giselle gave a slight roll of her eyes when he said not everyone was from a rich family. She let her eyes rest on the grass, if only he knew how true that was. She wondered if he just assumed she grew up with rich parents. After all she made sure all of her records where classified long before she reached this point in her career. “You are not the only person who has a past they are not proud of.”  She said as she moved her hand to twist the button that was there as she spoke. “So you were young and dumb once, how has this lead you to working for these people who have placed you in even more hot water then what your younger escapades would have.” she said softly, for some reason feeling the need to keep her voice low. “Do you know how long you could go away for trying to gain information to blackmail the future Mayor?”

She was trying to make light of the situation with the joke about his accent she feared if she didn’t she would break out in tears once again. Though when he said she wasn’t supposed to be nice she gave a heavy sigh and forced laugh. “Yeah well you weren’t supposed to be so charming and handsome with your electric blue eyes.” She said watching him closely as her hand moved holding his for a moment. How she wished things were different than they are now, this could have been their second or third date. Yet it was something that had the Mayor in over her head. She was torn between doing the right thing, and doing what her heart was yelling at her to do. “I have been told I am too nice for my own good.” she spoke softly as her gaze met his once again.

She didn’t want to admit that he meant that much, though she also thought it went without saying. She was sure her eyes had a storm in them as they looked upon each other. She watched him express his pain over hurting her, she watched him express how it would only put her in more danger, yet it was her heart that won the war long before his words. “I’m not going to turn you in.” She said simply as she turned her paranoid gaze from him, not wanting him to see the fear that was raging inside of her because of his actions.  “I don’t want you to say you worry about me if you don’t mean it Rowan.” She said softly as her brain tried to process what to do next. How to keep him safe and find out who was behind this. 

“You don’t know that.” he had no idea who could hurt easily, after all she was just human and while Sariah had done well in creating ways to protect their kind. Things had never been easy for the woman. “You don’t know who, or what can hurt me.” she looked at him with a darkness in her eyes that would make anyone run the other way, yet he touched her shoulder trying to comfort her. She wanted to lean into him accept his comfort and she cursed herself for wanting to do so. It shouldn’t be so easy for her to just trust him again. Yet that was all she wanted to do. “I…” she was lost in his eyes for that moment she reached up tracing her fingers along his cheek bone slowly, she wanted the study his face because this very well could be the last time she saw him.

That was when the idea sparked in her mind, it would be the only way to learn for herself who was behind all of this; and maybe just maybe she could free him. “Bug me again.” she said softly looking to him. “Come to my office tomorrow with flowers and make up with me, after all I am the desperate mayor who would do anything for a date.” she was speaking quickly now as she kept holding his face. “We feed them fake information as much as we can to draw him… I mean them out and maybe just maybe we can get the correct people behind bars and save you.” She said as she looked at him with a softness. “I don’t want to lose you, and this is the only way. Going into the danger together.” She let her hand trail down his cheek and neck to his chest softly. “We pretend to be dating, its perfect. You gain access to my office and they will be none the wiser. Its a great plan its going to be announced tomorrow I am the new Mayor.” she hoped that he would agree. “What do you think?”

He nodded sharply, he knew other people had pretty rough lives too, he knew other people went through hardships and difficulties and things happened to them that was awful, he certainly wasn’t saying other people had it easy because he knew that was absolutely untrue “Difference being that my past was all on me” he nodded a little, he owned his mistakes, he had to, even now they were still haunting him and reminding him of every misstep he took “I put myself here” he wasn’t going to make excuses or act hard done by, he was wrong. “I did” he nodded slightly “And it still wouldn’t touch what they have I-” he paused taking a long breath “I hacked a federal agency” he lowered his head ashamed to even say it out loud “I’d explain the reasons but it doesn’t even feel like it matters, I fucked up” that was the short explanation of it.

Her response to his words was deserved, the laugh short and blunt, he saw that coming but it wasn’t past the truth, he was supposed to get the information they wanted and in exchange, they put to rest the threats about exposing him and he could finally move on from his past. Instead, he had let emotions settle in and now he was in even more trouble than he could imagine. His eyes widened a little when she complimented him and his expression showed confusion, not what he was expecting her to say at all. “You are” he responded without hesitation the moment she spoke the words “Any sane person wouldn’t even entertain me being here” he nodded softly meeting her eyes “I don’t want to let you down again” he admitted somewhat vulnerably, he hated the fact that his past had hurt someone the way he hurt her.

He released a breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding when she said she wasn’t going to turn him in, as he looked back at her he noted the way her gaze seemed to show a lot of vulnerability and fear. And they weren’t attributed directly to him but she quickly looked away from him as though the intensity was too much for her. Which he could understand, they barely knew one another, he didn’t expect her to trust him or let him in. “My word might not mean a lot since, you know” he nodded “I lied to you but” he shook his head “I do worry about you, especially when I can almost feel your unease and I don’t think it’s because of my presence” he hoped that wasn’t him overstepping, he wouldn’t ask her to tell him, but he wanted her to know that he noticed.

“No I don’t” he spoke matter of factly, he had no idea what sort of trouble she had gotten herself into but it was definitely clear to him that whatever it was, she was completely terrified of it “I’m not going to pretend I know what you’re going through, you deserve better than that line but” he pursed his lips for a moment “I am also much stronger than my pale and slightly skinny frame might suggest” he nodded his head very slightly, he was almost certain she would know about the supernatural thanks to her position in the city, pretty sure he heard about some secret council the humans had and he’d put money on her knowing about it “They’d have to go through me first” he naturally leaned into her touch against his face, meeting her eyes, seeing how they seemed to be taking in every part of his face, he knew that look well, it was bracing for a goodbye.

But then suddenly the look in her eyes changed and his eyes widened at the mere thought of what she was suggesting, his immediate reaction was absolutely not, knowing the kinds of people on the other side of the web and how cold and heartless they could be he hated the idea of her putting herself into the middle of it as bait. But he got the feeling she was going to go after these people whether he helped her or not and that unsettled him even more “You’re gonna chase this whether I help or not right?” his gaze was serious as he met hers, showing a warning that this was seriously dangerous.

What she was suggesting wasn’t the worst idea in the world, he wouldn’t have to explain why the bug broke, just assure them that he was gonna replant it, they could control what they did and didn’t hear, Giselle could keep those secrets she was trying so hard to hold onto and with the right information planted, perhaps he could be rid of this threat forever. “I think what you’re saying makes more sense than any plan I had of getting out of this but” he paused meeting her gaze “I really don’t like the idea of putting you in the middle as bait, not without some kind of safety net” he got the feeling she was gonna be in the middle regardless of if she was proactive. “I uh-” this bit was much harder to say “I also have quite literally no idea how to real date, let alone fake date” the odd one night stand and a few dates that ended pretty awfully, he wasn’t a prince charming, that was for sure.

It was hard for Giselle to  watch him talk about his past, yet also refreshing that he took ownership of his own mistakes. Her eyes rested on him as he finally as he spoke of how he hacked a federal agency, her heart sank for a moment. She knew it was a crime but she didn’t know the time that would have been served for that. “The reason matters.” she said shortly. “Tell me the reason. I need to know.” She said as her eyes looked at him. “Where you trying to harm someone?” She looked at him “That is all I need to know. If not then maybe it isn’t as bad as you may think. I have known people to be offered jobs when impressing a government body with their skills.” Was she just grasping at straws at this point? Was she hoping to much?

When he agreed she was too nice for her own good she shook her head softly as she raised her hand to her cheek for a moment. “You can’t let me down, not like this again. I am reeling from it all. It's a lot but I don’t get the gut feeling you are a bad person.” she wasn’t sure if she was reasoning for him or herself in that moment. Her gaze falling was the only way she could keep the tears that wanted to fully take over in an ugly cry in. She chewed on her lip softly not sure how to respond to him for a moment until she cleared her throat softly. “You are not the reason I am uneasy.” she confirmed for him as she raised her hand to touch the back of her neck. The moment he spoke of being stronger then he locked her eyes flicked back up to him, her stomach sank slightly.

“So you are not human.” she said quietly as she let her eyes hold his, she wasn’t sure how to ask what he was, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know. Yet he took a protector role for her, it was a role only two other people had been helpful in. Samuel the man she considered her father and Ben who was trying her to protect herself. It was sweet if it hadn’t come from a man who had lied to her about almost everything. Keeping hold of his face as she made her crazy suggestion. She raised her brow slightly as she nodded “I will chase this with your help or not. So if you wish to protect me, I think it would be better if you were around for it.” she gave a slight shrug noting the warning in his eyes. “I have to find answers.”

Giselle moved slightly closer as he spoke of how it made sense and she nodded as he seemed to agree, yet the but came. She gave a soft sigh and looked to him “I am placing myself in the middle not you. What kind of safety net are you thinking?” she questioned as she then couldn’t help the laugh that left her lips. “Well I am clearly rubbish at dating, my last date stood me up and bugged me.” she tried to make the moment light hearted as she gave him a serious look. “We do what normal couples do I guess; dinner, movies, ice cream? I am sure we can figure it out, after all there is this little thing called google.” She said as she truly had no idea what she was doing when it came to dating either. “Fake it till we make it, so they say.” She gave a soft shrug before she looked back to him. “Maybe tonight you should go to them and meet me at my place and we can better matter map things out before you actually bug me again.”


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