Avia III - Sample Chapters from Draft 1

This is in no way, shape or form a finished draft.  It is draft 1, which means all typos, reduncdancies and items that will probably be taken out later are still inthe text.  It's an example of what your first draft might look like, and to help you not fear your first drafts.

Chapter 1 - Avia and Brian


Avia and Brian in Sarasota - Saturday Night



Brian had no idea what time it was as the movie ended in the downstairs theater room. He suspected it was after midnight and probably closer to two. The bar was littered with empty alcohol bottles, and they'd eaten two batches of popcorn out of Avia's popcorn maker. Currently, her ass was planted in his lap, pressing against his growing erection while he rubbed her clit through her dress.

Avia pulled her cotton dress off over her head as the next movie started. She wasn't sure of the title.  It was probably a drama, but all she could think about was Brian's erection pressing against her ass. "Damn, that feels hard."

"It is extremely ready," Brian said.  He drug his lips along her neck as he slid his free hand up her stomach to massage one of her breasts.

Avia moaned.  She pushed against his fingers as he rubbed her clit faster.

Brian could feel his orgasm coming but didn't let up on Avia's clit. She was soaking his hand and breathing hard.

Avia spasmed and screamed as she orgasmed.

Brian gripped her hips and pushed his cock against her ass with a groan as his cock released, sending cum spurting inside his boxers and jeans. It was rare for him to be unable to hold himself back until he penetrated her, but she'd been squirming in his lap for hours. Brian inhaled. "Holy shit."

Avia turned around and straddled his lap before kissing him deeply. "Did it cum?"

"Oh yeah," Brian said between kisses. "It's a complete mess."

Avia grinned. "Did you plan to do that?"

Brian laughed. "No, but let's take a shower." He picked up the remote and turned off the projector.

Avia slid out of his lap and walked with him up to the master bedroom and the shower.

Brian turned on the hot water and undressed.

"Are we done for tonight?" Avia asked as she stepped into the shower and stood under the steaming water.

"I'm tired. We're definitely going to bed," Brian said. "As for more..." He kissed her. "In the shower?"

"Bed," Avia said.

Brian grabbed the soap and lathered a washcloth before handing it to Avia. He watched her as he grabbed a washcloth for himself.  He could count the times they'd had sex on a bed over the years on both of his hands, and most of those were recently. As he lathered his own washcloth, he knew what she wanted and it wasn't a quick fuck in a comfortable location.

Avia washed her hair and her body before rinsing.  She stepped out of the shower so that Brian could rinse and walked over to the sink to brush her teeth. She rinsed her mouth and tossed her towels into the hamper before walking into the bedroom and sprawling across the bed.

Brian walled naked into the bedroom. He slid onto the bed and kissed Avia deeply, tongues entertaining. He was determined to take his time. He knew Avia wanted him to make love to her. Brian kissed from her mouth to her chest before taking on nipple into his mouth. He drug his tongue over it. Then, lightly sucked on it.

Avia moaned. She drug her hands down his abs as she leaned up and kissed him. Avia drug her hand up his shaft. He was incredibly hard. She stroked his cock slowly.

Brian grunted. His cock throbbed. He switched nipples, licking and sucking until it matched the first.

Avia continued stroking his cock. She could feel his muscles tensing. 

Brian positioned himself between her legs. Once she removed her hand, he sunk his cock deep into her pussy. Leaning down, he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her passionately. Brian pistoned slowly as if he were trying to massage her deepest muscles.

Avia moaned. She met his thrusts as her pleasure increased.

Brian repositioned himself, bracing his upper body with his arms as he increased his pace.

Avia gripped his forearms. She could hear him starting to breathe hard. Her pleasure was increasing rapidly. She arched and moaned. Then screamed as she was overcome with a wave of pleasure.

Brian's eyes rolled to the back of his head as he plunged his cock into her and groaned before falling to his elbows when his entire body spasmed. He laid his head next to Avia's as he recovered. "Holy fuck." It took him a minute to regain his motor control and pull out of her.  Brian rolled onto his back and pulled her against his body.

Avia laid her head on his chest and grinned. "So that's what you say when you orgasm that hard."

Brian chuckled. He slid a hand down her back. "I don't think I've ever cum that hard. I felt that in my toes."

Avia laughed. "You are missing out."

"Apparently," Brian said.

Avia slid off him and the bed.  She walked into the bathroom and cleaned the slime from her body.

It didn't take Brian long to wash his cock and join Avia in the bed. He pulled her atop him, wrapped his arms around her and fell asleep.



Chapter 2 Avia and Brian



Sunday Morning



Avia inhaled and opened her eyes to veiw Brian's chest. She could feel his arms around her, and by the sounds of his breathing, he was still asleep. Avia wanted to move, but she didn't want to wake him. Her plane would be landing soon at the pier, and she wanted to be there when it did.

Brian tightened his grip around Avia, hugging her tightly. "Awake already."

"My plane should be at pier soon," Avia said.

"Too bad we don't have that shipment," Brian said.

"We need to make them pay," Avia said.

"We will," Brian said.

Avia slid off Brian and sat next to him.

Brian sat with his back against the headboard. "I'll call our contact in the SPD. Find out who's vulnerable."

"Then what?" Avia asked.

"I'll research him, and we'll make a plan," Brian said.

"A random police officer isn't going to have two million dollars," Avia said.

"We'll take what we can get," Brian said.

"It'd be easier if we had Benton," Avia said.

"Don't discount what we can do," Brian said as he stepped out of the bed.

Avia followed Brian into the bathroom. "It's going to take more than one cop."

"Now, you're thinking." Brian turned on the hot water.

Avia grinned. "Do we know if it's a male or female cop?"

"There are more men in that department than women, but we'll see." Brian tested the water. "It's ready."

Avia stepped behind Brian and wrapped her arms around him.

Brian turned around and kissed her. "I bet there's coffee downstairs."

"And my injection," Avia said.

"I think it's the pill today," Brian said. He grabbed a washcloth and lathered it before washing her body. "Is it not a good day?"

"I have a headache," Avia said.

Brian continued to slowly wash her body. "That's probably a hangover. We drank a lot last night." Once he was finished washing her body, he washed her hair.  Then, he nudged her under the water so he could wash his body and hair.

Avia stepped out of the shower and dried her body.  She walked over to the sink and brushed her teeth.  By the time she was finished, Brian was out of the shower.

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the side of her neck. "We'll put some Bailey's in your coffee."

Avia turned around in his arms and kissed her. "We need to get to the pier. My plane is coming in today."

Brian released her so he could brush his teeth. "We'll do that first thing. How are the mechanics getting back to Texas?"

"I have no idea," Avia said as she walked into the bedroom.  She threw her towels on the floor and walked into her closet.

"Are they staying here?" Brian asked.  He walked into the bedroom and located a pair of boxers, undershirt and socks.

"They can," Avia said. "They may want a break from L, and there's nothing for them to do when my plane's not there." She slid a dark green summer dress over her head.

"You're going to become the next Company headquarters." Brian put on his underclothes before finding a pair of jeans.

Avia walked out of the closet. "That doesn't bother me."

Brian slid his jeans on and fastened them. "It doesn't bother me either, but you don't have a maintenance shop."

"I can build one if I buy the block next to mine on the pier," Avia said.

"How likely is that?" Brian located a long-sleeved button shirt and put it on.

"I don't know," Avia said. "Depends on how many property owners are there and how badly they want to sell. I guess I could have our attorney investigate it."

Brian finished dressing and walked downstairs to the kitchen with Avia.  Their coffee mugs were already filled and on the table.  Brian grabbed the Baileys out of the cabinet and poured a hefty amount into each of their cups.

Avia took a long drink from her cup before sitting down at the table across from Brian.

"Are they landing your Seneca in the water?" Brian asked.

"Yeah," Avia said. "It has a pontoon conversion."

"How does that work?" he asked. "Can you land it on the ground after they do that?"

"I can," Avia said. "The pontoons have wheels on the bottom.  The increased drag is a bitch though."

"What about the landing gear?" Brian asked as the chef placed their plates on the table.

"Locked in the up position," Avia said. She picked up her fork and started eating the hashbrowns and scrambled eggs.

Brian looked up when the doctor walked in and sat Avia's pill on her napkin.

Avia looked at the pill.

"It's your medicine for today.  Injection is tomorrow," the doctor said.

Avia took it with a large drink of coffee. "How long am I going to be on this shit?"

"At least two months. Probably closer to six," the doctor said.

"Or longer," Avia said. She finished eating her food.

Brian drained his coffee. "You're tolerating this better than anything else I've seen."

"It's been three days." She took a long drink of her coffee. "I've gone cold turkey longer than this." Avia waited for the chef to refill her coffee.  She added Baileys and took a drink.

"You were trying cold turkey prior to this and slowly failing," Brian said. "Give it a week." He stood. "You ready to go to the pier?"

"Yes." Avia stood and followed him out the back door to his car.

"Did you want to take my car or one of yours?" Brian asked.

"I don't want to drive," Avia said.

"I'll drive," Brian said.

Avia opened the back door.  "Can you get the Mercedes out of the garage?"

"I'll get it," Charles said as he walked into the kitchen.  He grabbed the keys off the hook and walked outside.

Brian waited while Charles drove the dark red Mercades out of the garage.  He stepped off the porch and took the keys when Charles handed them to him.

Avia slid on on the passenger's side and closed her door.

Brian started the engine and drove out of the estate. Instead of turning toward the pier, he drove straight.

"Where are you going?" Avia asked.

"To get some security cameras," Brian said. "And a better motion detector. And a computer to run all of it."

"I want my plane," Avia said.

"Even if they took off an hour ago, we'll still be stuck there for hours. I might as well get this done," Brian said.

"Shit. What about that guy last night? Is my pier going to be a crime scene?" Avia asked.

"Crap," Brian said. "I guess we'll find out when we get there."

"Is that why you wanted to take my car?" Avia asked.

"The rifle is in the trunk of my car. If they search it..." Brian said.

"I don't know what's in this one," Avia said.

"You're going to look while I get the new security system," Brian said. "You need to throw away any drugs in this car."

"What about guns?" Avia asked.

"Put those away," Brian said.

"I don't know if this car has been modified," Avia said.

"I'm sure it has. I wouldn't be surprised if I did this one myself," Brian said as he turned into the parking lot of a large electronic's store. He turned off the engine and triggered the button to open the trunk.

"We're you the one driving this a few years ago?" Avia stepped out of the car and walked around to the trunk. 

"That's why I think I did this one," Brian said as he triggered a button on the underside of the latching bar. A panel in the back of the trunk popped out.  "That's you're hole. It pushes back into place.  You'll feel it latch." When Avia looked at him, he kissed her. "I need to go get this crap."

Avia grabbed his shirt and pulled him closer.

Brian kissed up her neck to her ear. "We will continue this after I install the security cameras."

Avia laughed and let go of his shirt. I'll hold you to it."

"If your airplane doesn't arrive by then." Brian chuckled as he turned and walked toward the electronic doors.

Avia dug through the glovebox, side pockets, backseat and under the seats for any drugs or guns that might have been left in the car from the last time she used it. she found two medicine bottles and a revolver.  She tossed the revolver in the secret trunk compartment and closed it. Then, she closed all the doors and the trunk before walking up to the doors and throwing the pill bottles away. She hated doing it. There were several grams of heroin in those bottles, but even she had to admit that she wouldn't use heroin that was more than a year old.

Avia turned to walk back to her car when she felt a hand on her arm.  She jerked around to view Locke. "What the fuck!"

"You were about to walk in front of a car," Locke said and motioned with his free hand as the car drove past them.

Avia inhaled. "Can you let go of me now?"

Locke released her arm.

"What's going on?" Brian asked as he walked out of the store with a shopping cart full of electronics.

Locke turned to view Brian. "Saving your girlfriend from getting hit by a car." He held up a bag with two two-liters. "Aside from that, I was getting Cokes for me and Josephine."

"Thank you," Brian said. He looked at Locke. "And what the hell are you doing here?"

"Visiting Josephine," Locke said. "By now, you've probably heard I've been fired."

"I wouldn't say I've heard that," Brian said. "I've heard you're off our case though."

"Fired, pending the conclusion of an investigation," Locke said as he looked at them both.

"Enjoy Florida," Avia said. She walked with Brian to the car.

Brian put the packages in the trunk before getting in on the driver's side and closing the door. he started the engine and backed out of the parking space.

"Locke being here irritates me," Avia said.

"He's here visiting his girlfriend," Brian said. "I know that doesn't make him completely innocent."

"He's planning something.  He knows I live here," Avia said.

"That occurred to me." Brian kept his eyes out the windshield as they approached Avia's pier.

"It's a crime scene," Avia said. "The boat is still there."

"We're going to see how much of one," Brian said. He turned into the small lot in front of Avia's warehouse and turned off the engine.

Avia opened the door and stepped out.

"What are you doing here?" an officer asked as he approached their car.

"It's my warehouse," Avia said.

"This building?" He motioned.

"Correct," Avia said.

"Can you prove that?" the officer asked.

"The deed is in the building," Avia said.

"Is there something going on here?" another officer asked as he walked over.

"She says she owns that warehouse," the officer said.

"And the pier you're standing on.  What the fuck happened?" Avia asked.

"Someone was shot on that boat last night," the second officer said. "Have you ever seen that boat before, and were you expecting a boat at your pier?"

"I've never seen that boat, and it did not have permission to dock here," Avia said. "That's where my airplane docks, and it's due here later today."

"We don't know when we're going to be done," the second officer said. "The ware house is fine. We've already checked around it, and didn't find anything, but don't go near the pier."

"That's fine," Brian said.  He walked back to the Mercedes and got into the driver's seat while Avia opened the overhead door.

She walked inside ahead of the car and turned on the lights. Once Brian had parked and turned off the engine, she closed the overhead door.

"That was interesting," Brian said.

"They don't have a clue what happened last night," Avia said.

"That was the idea," Brian said. "I was two blocks away from here. They'l be able to figure out the overall trajectory of the bullet, but they'll never figure out what building." He walked around and unlocked the trunk.

Avia opened the door to the living area of the warehouse and walked inside.  She grabbed two beers out of the fridge and sat down on the couch.

Brain walked into the living area carrying all the security equipment and sat them down on the small kitchen counter. He looked over at Avia as she opened one of the beers. "Are you trying to temp me?"

"I might be." Avia said as she opened the second beer and took a drink.

Brian picked something up off the counter and walked over to Avia. "Your new phone."

Avia turned it on. "You got this in the store?"

"I did. That's your regular number. I cleared your messages.  It was nothing important." Brian picked up the beer and took a long drink. 

"How do you know they weren't important?" Avia said.

Brian looked at her. "It was six messages of Benton begging you to answer the phone, and ten from your dealers."

Avia sighed. "You're right."

"Let me get this setup. Then, I'll make lunch," Brian said.

"You will?" Avia asked.

"You said there's steaks in the freezer," Brian said.

"There are," Avia said.

"I'll grill some steaks," Brian said. He walked back to the kitchen and opened the boxes, pulling out several cameras, wires, a DVD recorder and a few other pieces of equipment.

"The grill is in the warehouse," Avia said.

"Is it propane or charcoal?" Brian asked as he skimmed the directions.

"Propane, and there should be a full propane tank.  Charles is supposed to check this once a week," Avia said.

Brian turned around and opened the refrigerator then the cabinets.  "We're going to have fun.  I see potatoes, beans, corn on the cob and a few other things." He turned back to the equipment.

"Private time in the warehouse?" Avia asked.

"Alone time.  Something we don't get a whole lot of," Brian said. He picked up a camera. "I have eight of these. Where do you want them?"

"Around the doors and focused on the pier," Avia said.

"What about the road?" Brian asked.

"One on the road to see who comes in here," Avia said before taking a drink of her beer.

"There is a bedroom here, and a full bathroom," Avia said.

"I don't know that I want to sleep here, but that's good to keep in mind," Brian said as he dug through the drawers for a power drill.  He eventually found one under the sink. "Are the rest of the tools in the warehouse?"

"They should be," Avia said.

"That door?" Brian motioned.

"Yeah," Avia said. "The light switch is next to the door on the other side."

Brian walked through the door and turned on the light to the warehouse. "Damn. This is empty."

"The giant toolbox thing is along the far wall," Avia said. "And I haven't had any shipments here in a long time."

Brian walked back into the living area after retrieving the tools he needed to install the camera system.  He grabbed two cameras and some wires before walking outside.

It took him two hours to setup the camera system and hookup the computer, three monitors and the DVD recorder. Brian chose a large closet in Avia's warehouse bedroom to setup the monitoring system. Avia wasn't happy, but Brian reminded her that she had an entire mansion two blocks away. He wasn't even sure why she needed a full bedroom in the warehouse.

"It's done,"

Avia finished her third beer just as Brian walked out of the bedroom.

"I thought you'd be laying naked on that bed when I walked out of the closet," Brian said.

"I thought about it," Avia said.  "My plane radioed. They're an hour out."

"Plenty of time for me to put the steaks on," Brian said.

Avia walked over to the fridge and grabbed another beer.

"How many are in there?" Brian asked.

Avia pulled one out and handed it to him. "Plenty, and several cases in the garage. The bar is also fully stocked."

Brian opened his beer and took a drink.  He sat it on the counter and opened the freezer before pulling out three steaks. "How many people are on that plane?"

"Two mechanics," Avia said.

Brian pulled out three more steaks. "Joe and who's that other one you like?"

"Mike, and I don't like him," Avia said. "There's corn on the cob in the crispers."

Brian leaned down and opened the crisper drawers. He took out all the corn and placed it on the counter. "I thought you fucked him."

"He has a cock," Avia said.

Brian laughed. "What else do you want to eat?"

"Baked beans. Chips," Avia said.

"Chips and dip I see. I am not feeding you beans," Brian said.

"That only happened once!"

Brian turned around and kissed her. "Once was enough."

Avia slid her hands down his chest.

Brian took a hold of her hands. "Let me get this food on the grill." He kissed her before releasing her hands.

"They'll almost be here by the time you finish," Avia said.

"Yeah, but if we want to eat today, the sooner I do this, the better.  These are frozen," Brian said.

Avia walked over to the couch and sprawled across it. "Are you going to call that cop?"

Brian put the steaks and corn into large metal baking pan. "Do you want me to call him or fuck you?"

"Both," Avia said as she stood.  She walked over and opened the door for Brian. "Is the grill outside?"

"Not yet," Brian said.

Avia opened the exterior door and propped it open with a brick.  then, she wheeled the propane grilled through it.

Brian sat the food on a small table next to the door.  He grabbed the grill kit and walked outside.

"The hose is over there." Avia motioned. She watched as Brian scrubbed and cleaned the grill.

Brian turned the grill on high and closed the lid.

"You forgot to put the food on it," Avia said.

"I'm burning off anything that I missed," Brian said.

"I think you missed something," Avia said.

Brian grinned. "No, I haven't." He opened the grill and turned down the heat. Brian unwrapped the steaks and placed then on the highest grates. Then, he closed the lid. "I'm going to let those cook for a minute before putting the corn on."

Avia walked inside with Brian.

"If you want, I can take a shower.  In about ten minutes, move the steaks to the lower rack and put the corn on the upper rack.  No need to shuck it," Brian said.

"I can do that," Avia said. She walked Brian walk into the bedroom. "Do you have clothes?"

"We'll see," Brian said. "Charles is pretty astute."

Avia walked outside and watched the grill while Brian showered. When she heard the steaks sizzling, she opened the grill and picked up the tongs. Avia moved the steak from the top grate to the bottom. Then, she put the corn on the top grate and closed the lid.

She turned to look at the peir and the water. It looked like the cops were about finished. Avia slowly walked over to the line of police tape. "Are you done?"

"Almost," an officer said as he walked toward her. "Do you own this peir?"

"I do, and my plane is on the way," Avia said.

"Fifteen minutes or so," the officer said.

Avia nodded. She turned around and walked back to the warehouse. By the time she walked into the living area, Brian was out of the shower and dressed.

"Charles did move a couple days of clothes here," Brian said.

Avia wrapped her arms around him.

Brian kissed her passionately. He slid his hands down her sides. "What made you redo this warehouse like this. This is really overkill."

"In case they raid the house again," Avia said.

"Isn't this in your name?" Brian asked.

"It is," Avia said.

"That's not going to help you for very long," Brian said. "They could search both."

"Damn," Avia said.

"It's still beneficial," Brian said.  He walked over to the couch and sat down before pulling her into his lap.

"How?" Avia asked.

He pulled her into a tight embrace. "It holds more cargo. the garage helps ensure people don't realize you're here, and you were complaining about all the people you've been around for the last eight months." He kissed her. "You have a view of the water, and you can get some private time without your staff if you really need it."

"Speaking of private time, I think we left Breck at the house," Avia said.

"I called after I got out of the shower.  He's fine," Brian said. "He loves the house.  He was bowling when I called."

Avia laughed. "Was he mad?"

"Not at all," Brian said. "The staff told him we had to leave early to meet your plane. I invited him for steaks. He said he was going to finish his game and have someone drive him down."

Avia started unbuttoning his shirt. "Do we have time?"

"We're going to make time." He reached around Avia and unzipped her dress.

Avia pulled off her dress and tossed it on the coffee table. She unfastened Brian's pants and pulled out his cock. She stroked it until it was hard.

Brian nudged her over to the couch. He sat down and pulled her into his lap.

Avia straddled him. She sunk down on his cock with a gasp.

Brian wrapped his arms around her and kissed her passionately.

Avia shifted her hips, feeling his cock slip in and out of her pussy.

Brian grunted. She was already tight around him. He brought his hands to her breasts and massaged them.

Avia gripped his shoulders and increased her pace. She moaned as her muscles tensed.

Brian groaned just as Avia screamed and gushed all over his cock. He kissed her deeply as his cock blew.  He drug a hand down her back just as he heard something near the doorway to the living area.  Brian expected a cop.  Instead, he looked up to see Breck.

"I'll man the grill. I stepped in to tell you I was here," Breck said.

"We'll be out in a minute," Brian said.

"I don't know about that. Avia looks awfully comfortable," Breck said before turning and walking through the warehouse.

"I am comfortable," Avia said with her head on Brian's shoulder.

Brian chuckled. "So am I, but we better get cleaned up."

Avia slid out of his lap.  She walked into the bedroom than the bathroom to take a quick shower while Brian washed the slime from his cock. Avia washed quickly and rinsed before turning the water off and grabbing a towel.

It didn't take her long to dry her body and hair. Then, she walked into the living area and picked up her dress.  She slid it over her head.

Brian stepped behind her and carefully zipped her dress. Then, he kissed the back of her neck.

Avia grinned and turned around.

Brian kissed her. "I bet the food is ready."

"Did you ever call your contact?" Avia asked.

"i'll call him tomorrow," Brian said.

"Tomorrow is Monday," Avia said.

"Shit.  I'll call him later tonight," Brian said as he walked with her through the warehouse area and out the exterior door.

"You're just in time," Breck said.  "I just turned the grill off."

"I'll get the plates," Avia said.

"I'll get something so that we can bring this food inside," Brian said.

"If you have chairs, we can eat out here," Breck said. "It's a nice view."

"There might be some in the warehouse," Avia said as she walked into the living area and into the kitchen.  She grabbed three plates, forks and knives.  By the time she walked back outside, Breck had found the chairs, and Brian was getting the dish to hold the steaks and corn.

Breck walked back into the warehouse and grabbed a folding card table.  He set it up outside.  "I also found a table if you want to find a rag."

Avia grinned.  She walked into the warehouse and retrieved a cleaning solution and a rag to wipe of the table.

Breck took the cleaning supplied from her and wiped off the table.  "Now, we have a place to enjoy the view."

"And play cards later," Avia said as she sat down in the chair.

Brian sat the steaks and corn on the table. "Load up.  I'll be back with the steak sauce and butter."

"I wonder where my plane is.  It's been more an an hour," Avia said.

"I think they may have underestimated where they were," Brian said before walking into the warehouse to get the steak sauce and butter.

Avia put a steak and corn on her plate.  Once Brian put the steak sauce and butter on the table, she dumped sauce on her steak and covered her corn in butter.

Brian loaded his plate then leaned over and kissed Avia.

"What's that for?" Avia asked as she cut her steak.

"No reason." Brian cut his steak and started eating it.

Breck tossed pile of butter on his corn. "If I had to guess, he was bothered by your lack of eating last week."

"I didn't feel good last week," Avia said. "I'm feeling much better now."

"No headaches?" Breck asked between bites.

"None," Avia said.  She finished her steak then picked up her corn.

"I'm glad to hear it," Breck said. He dunked a steak chunk in sauce and ate it.

"I think I hear your Seneca," Brian said.

"They almost missed the food," Avia said as she watched her plane come into view.

"Almost but not quite," Brian said as he watched Avia's Seneca taxi next to the pier. "That is a hell of a setup."

"The pontoons?" Avia asked.

"Yeah. They're a lot bigger than I thought," Brian said.

"Almost as long as the damned plane. That's why it's a bitch to fly," Avia said.

"Sorry we';re late.  Our tailwind turned into a headwind," Joe said as he walked up to the table.

"Grab a late and grab some food," Brian said. "We're just glad to see you."

"Where's Mike?" Avia asked.

"Texas," Joe said.  "Doing storm damage repair."

Avia rolled her eyes. "And Benton didn't show up in McAllen for the flight?"

"No. Thankfully, and he knew we were going.  He called four times wanting me to fly to LaPryor and pick him up." Joe grabbed a plate and put a steak and corn on it. "I told him no. The G's on landing and takeoff wouldn't be good for his shoulder."

"Does it need fuel?" Avia asked.

"It does need fuel, but I was able to fly it here without stopping to refuel." Joe sat down and started eating his steak.

"I'll call for a fuel truck," Avia said. "What's it got in it? Quarter tanks?"

"Little less than that," Joe said. 

"It'd burn that on the takeoff," Avia said.

"You'd be coasting into Venice," Joe said.

"Not with those pontoons," Avia said.  She finished her corn.

Brian picked his phone up off the table and dialed.

"Who are you calling?" Avia asked.

"The fuel truck." Brian listened while the phone rang.  He spoke once someone answered. It didn't take long for him to place the order and he ended the call. "They'll be out later tonight."

"Do we have to be here to pay?" Avia asked.

"No. I gave them my credit card," Brian said.

"That was some fantastic steak," Breck said as he finished his food.

"It was nice to eat in private," Avia said.

"Had enough of the staff?" Joe asked as he cut his steak.

"No. Just every meal had 15 people at the table for the last eight months," Avia said.

"I understand," Joe said. He ate his steak before starting on his corn. "I can clean this up."

"I'll help," Breck said.

"Are you staying at the house?" Avia asked.

"I thought I might," Joe said.  "L is on my last nerve." He finished his corn and stood. Joe picked up the plates and carried them inside.

Breck made sure the grill was turned off and grabbed the rest of the items from the table.

"I heard it was official between Brian and Avia," Joe said as he turned on the hot water to wash the dishes.

"They are engaged," Breck said. He put the rest of the dirty dishes in the sink.

"That explains why Benton kept calling," Joe said.

"He's eager to set right any wrongs," Breck said. "He was upset when Brian drove her home."

"Who the hell else was going to take her home?" Joe asked. "Benton's shoulder is toasted. Her plane was in pieces, and she didn't have a car in LaPryor."

"He expected her to stay until he was healed," Breck said.

"I remember a time when she would have stayed," Joe said. "But at the same time, I've known something was going on with Brian."

"It's not hard to see," Breck said.

"What's not hard to see?" Brian asked as he walked into the living area.

"The work that's been put into this warehouse," Joe said.

"Do you expect me to believe that?" Brian asked.

"Not really," Joe said as he washed the dishes and put them in the drainer.

"Hundred bucks says they were talking about us," Avia said as she walked into the living area.  She turned and closed and locked the door.

"I'm sure they were," Brian said.

Joe finished washing the dishes and turned around to face Brian and Avia. "I was telling Breck that you've had a thing for Avia for a while."

"How do you know?" Brian asked. "I've never said anything about it until recently."

"Are you joking?" Joe asked. "It's all over you every time she calls. And you are out the door within 48 hours telling us you have urgent business."

"It is urgent." He looked at Avia, Breck and Joe.

"It's okay, Brian. We're not condemning you," Breck said. "We were just talking."

"I think we're all riding in the same car on the way back to the house," Avia said.

"We are," Brian said. He looked around the area.  "I think we're leaving it the way we found it.  Let's get out of here."



Brian, Avia, Breck and Joe at Avia's House in Sarasota



Avia sprawled on the couch with a beer just as Brian walked into the parlor while talking on his cell phone.

"Did you just say Locke was living with Josephine?" Brian asked his contact. "And that's your police chief?" He made a contemplative sound. "I knew he was in town.  I saw t\him this morning. Was he at pier 173?" He paused. "He needs to stay off my damned property.  He's no longer a cop." Brian inhaled. "Where do they go after work?" Brian walked over to the bar and grabbed a napkin and a pen. He wrote down a name. "That's all I needed." He ended the call.

"What was that?" Avia asked.

"I asked my contact for the name of the bar where all the cops go after work.  He was telling me some other stuff.  Like Locke is living with Josephine right now, and he was at our pier this morning."

"That motherfucker," Avia said.

"That was my thought," Brian said. "But we can start working on these cops at any time."

"Why do we want to work on them?" Joe asked.

"They owe us two million," Brian said. "From a failed gun delivery."

"Damn," Breck said. "So you're going to take it from the force?"

"Get close.  Get some account numbers. Pull the money. It's pretty standard," Brian said.

"But you only do the money," Avia said.

"And you are adorable. They are not going to be able to resist you," Brian said.

"What am I doing? Do you just want credit cards?" Avia asked.

"I'll take credit cards. I'd prefer bank cards," Brian said.

"That's easy enough," Avia said. "What's the bar?"

"Cuff and Collar," Brian said.

Avia laughed. "Is that a fetish club?"

"I don't know. I need to look it up," Brian said.

"Probably just a bar full of cops," Breck said. "Though, it may have been a fetish bar at one point."

"You are going to need help," Joe said.  "What do you plan on doing with the credit cards once Avia has them?"

"Copy them," Brian said. "The equipment is in my trunk."

"So, you're going to sit out in a car while Avia navigates a bar full of cops," Joe said.

"That may not be the best idea, but I need to copy the cards quickly. I can't make a hundred trips in and out," Brian said.

"I'll go in with her," Breck said. "I am a cop.  I act like a cop."

"I can live with that," Brian said.

"I'll keep a general eye on things," Joe said.

Brian nodded. "All right.  That's our plan.

"If we split it four ways, that's only half a million each," Avia said.

"It's all right," Brian said. "We don't have to split this with L."

"Point," Avia said.

"Keep in mind that it takes a few weeks," Brian said. "I can't just route this money to you. It has to get lost then come back."

"I understand," Breck said.

"That's fine," Joe said.

"We can't start this tonight, but we can tomorrow night,"Brian said.

"Too bad it's Sunday," Avia said.

"That's what I was thinking, but it gives us more time to prepare tomorrow," Brian said as he mixed everyone drinks. "Whiskey sours."

Avia walked over and grabbed one. She took a long drink.

"For anyone wondering, mine and Avia's relationship isn't new," Brian said. He took a drink of his whiskey sour. "It's didn't start a couple months ago.  It started years ago."

"I suspected that already," Breck said. "You remember when you got trapped at my apartment for three days during the blizzard a couple years ago?"

"Vaguely," Brian said. 

"You drank all the liquor in the house," Breck said. "I went out to get more since the store is on the corner. When I got back, you and Avia were in the guest room."

Avia laughed. "I remember that.  We walked out, and you were sitting on the couch."

"I knew then there was something going on," Breck said.

"Well, there's no date set," Brian said.

"Seems like you'd want to set one," Joe said.  He walked over and picked up a glass.

"Benton still wants a shot," Brian said. "I want Avy to be sure."

"Understandable," Breck said. He drained the rest of his glass.

"Anyway. Brian brought up an interesting point earlier today," Avia said. "no one likes being in Texas with L.  Until we can get rid of him, we should consider making this our base of operations."

"You can't fit your plane in here," Joe said.

"I can't but it's sitting at the dock right now.  I can buy the block next to my pier and put in hangar," Avia said.

"How serious are you about that?" Joe said.

"I can hire a real estate agent to make offers," Avia said.

"i'm not going to complain," Joe said. "I hate L."

"Benton is in no condition to take care of the problem. Until he is, we'll quietly move here."

"Isn't that dangerous?" Breck asked.

"Not really," Brian said. "Avia is on medical leave.  Joe is testing her airplane.  These excuses will work fine for at least a month, if not longer."

"I'm on board," Joe said.

"It's fine by me," Breck said. "Anyone up for some bowling?"

"We'll meet you down there. I want to talk to Avy for a minute," Brian said.

"We'll warm up the lanes," Breck said.

Brian pulled Avia into his arms and kissed her.

"This can't be why you wanted to be alone," Avia said.

"It can be." Brian slid his hands down her back and squeezed her ass. "But it's not the entire reason. Are you okay with opening up your house as a second base of operations for the Company?"

"It's fine," Avia said. "We need to start taking L out of the equation."

Brian nodded. "How are you feeling about Benton?"

Avia looked up at him. "How are you feeling about Benton?"

"Nervous," Brian said as he tightened his grip around her.

Avia knew that was a hard thing for him to admit. "Part of me misses him. The other part doesn't think he's going to change and knows that the chaos he brings isn't good for me."

"How resolute are you on the latter?" Brian asked. When he felt her bury her head against his shoulder, he picked her up and carried her over to the couch.  Brian sat down and held her in his lap. He felt sick when she started sobbing and wondered if he was pushing her into a relationship with him when she wasn't ready. "It's okay, Avy." He voice sounded choked to him, and Brian realized his eyes were welling up with tears. "I am here, and I will hold you all day if that's what you need."

Avia shook her head. "What I need is my phone."

Brian pulled out his phone. "I have my phone."

"Dial Benton," Avia said. "I need to talk to him."

"Now?" Brian asked as he searched for Benton's number in him phone.

"Yes," Avia said.

Brian took deep breath.  "Okay." He called Benton. His first attempt went to voicemail, but Brian dialed again.

"Sorry," Benton said. "I was asleep."

"How are you feeling?" Brian asked.

"I'm okay.  It seems to be getting better," Benton said.

"Are you still at the hospital?" Brian asked.

"I am. I guess I'm going to be here until I'm healed, but I think my lawyer is working on something to try and get me out of here," Benton said.

"Have they charged you?" Brian asked.

"With felon in possession of a weapon," Benton said. "But my lawyer and his team doesn't think it's going to stick.  Did you guys make it to Sarasota?"

"We did," Brian said. "We're at Avia's, and we're all fine.  Locke is in Sarasota though."

"Fucking figures," Benton said. "I heard he was fired."

"He's under investigation," Brian said. "There's been no decision. He's in the same boat as Breck."

"Damn," Benton said. "Is Avia there?"

"She is.  In fact, she'd like to talk to you," Brian said.

"Put her on. I thought she was ignoring my calls," Benton said.

Bran handed the phone to Avia.


"How are you feeling? They told me they had you on some new medications," Benton said.

"I'm doing good," Avia said. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm doing better," Benton said. "Are we still on a month from now?"

"You can come to Sarasota," Avia said. "But we won't have much to talk about."

"Why is that?" Benton asked as a sudden feeling of dread washed over him.

"Because..." Avia inhaled. "We have to end this. We're not good for each other."

Benton laid his head back in the pillow and closed his eyes. He was at a complete loss for words.

Avia listened to the silence. "Benton?"

"I'm still here," Benton said.

"Did you hear me?" Avia asked.

"I heard you...." Benton could feel tears rolling down his face. "I'm so sorry, Avy." He could feel himself breaking down. "I didn't listen.  I didn't answer your calls. I took you for granted, and I am so... so sorry. I wasn't there for you, and I'm still not there for you." 

Avia laid her head against Brian's shoulder.

Benton inhaled. "I understand.

"Was there ever a ring?" Avia asked.

Benton thought about the ring he had stashed in the glovebox. The conversation he had planned to have with Avia, and he said. "No. I... was lying. There was never a ring, and I never bought those plane tickets to Hawaii."

"I thought as much," Avia said.

"I never could fool you," Benton said. "But I guess I should get some rest." He ended the call.

Avia handed Brian's phone back to him.

"How'd he take it?" Brian asked.

"Badly, but he did finally admit that there was no ring," Avia said.

"The one time he tells the damned truth," Brian said. "Are you okay?"

"I think I did the right thing," Avia said.

"I think you did too," Brian said as he held her.

"Are you okay?" Avia asked.

"I will murder anyone who ever makes you that upset again," Brian said. He kissed the side of her face. "Did you want to go downstairs and show off your bowling?"

Avia shook her head.

Brian toed off his shoes then removed Avia's sandals. "Then, we are going to take a nap." He laid across the couch and pulled the blanket off the back before covering them both.

Brian was only half asleep, listening to Avia breathe, when he heard footsteps in the room.  Opening his eyes, he spotted Breck.

"Are you guys all right?" Breck asked.

"She ended it with Benton," Brian said. "I thought we should just rest for a minute."

"Damn. I knew it was coming, but I thought she was going to wait," Breck said.

"So did I," Brian said. "How long have we been up here?"

"We've been bowling for about two hours," Breck said. "That's why I came up to check on you."

Brian shifted, carefully sliding Avia off his body so he could get off the couch. He covered her with the blanket. "Are they making dinner?"

"Soon, I think," Breck said.

"I guess I could bowl a couple games if you guys are still interested," Brian said.

"Sounds good to  me.  Is she going to be all right?" Breck motioned to Avia.

"She'll be fine," Brian said as they walked out of the parlor. "I think it finally hit her that she needed to end it with Benton." He paused at a bathroom. "I'll meet you down there."

He walked into the bathroom and took a long piss before washing his hands. Brian washed his cock out of habit, even though Avia was passed out on the couch in the parlor.

Once his hands were dry, he turned to open the door only to realize it was opening. "Hey there, sleepy," Brian said as soon as he saw Avia.

"How long have you been up?" Avia asked.

"Maybe ten minutes," Brian said. "You want to join us for bowling?"

"As soon as I use the bathroom," she said.

"It's all yours." Brian walked out of the bathroom.  He decided to wait in the hall until Avia emerged. Once she did, he pulled her against his body and kissed her.

Avia laughed. "What was that for?"

"To see if you'd cheer up," Brian said as he ushered them downstairs to Avia's bowling lanes.

"It was just overwhelming for a minute," Avia said as she cast a sideways glance at him.

"What's that look for?" Brian asked as they walked through the bowling alley door.

"You're not going to fuck me?" Avia asked.

Brian chuckled. "Every kiss does not have to end with my cock in your pussy." He leaned down to her ear. "But I'll make love to you later if you want."

Breck laughed. "How did that conversation just walk in here?" he asked as he picked up a ball.

"I surprised her in the hall, but I didn't follow through like I normally do," Brian said. "She was asking me why."

Breck threw his ball and knocked down four pins. "Well, we can restart. Joe and I will take on you and Avia."

"Sounds good to me," Brian said.

They bowled until the early hours of the evening.  By the end, each team had one two games.  They were ready to play a tie-breaker when Charles informed them that dinner was ready.



Evening in Sarasota


Avia ate then walked into her office to check her email and any potential phone messages.  She had none. She supposed that wasn't surprising. She had ended it with Benton, and there were no deliveries on her schedule due to weather. Locke and the Sarasota police department. The only job they had scheduled was at the Cuff and Collar.

Avia turned off her computer and walked out of her office. She found Breck in the parlor, looking at his cell phone. "Any updates?"

"Not on my situation," Breck said. "I texted a colleague.  He said they aren't saying much about me or Locke."

"Is that normal?" Avia asked.

"I think so," Breck said. "If you're looking for Brian, I think he went to an office to work."

"There's a couple offices here," Avia said. "I'll look.  He wasn't in mine."

"I think I'm going to turn in. Do you need me for anything?" Breck asked.

"Not until tomorrow.  Where's Joe?" Avia asked.

"He's either watching a movie or practicing his bowling," Breck said. "He mentioned something about wanting to check your airplane again."

"He's anal like that," Avia said. "The pontoons make it fly weird.  He probably wants to run it around the block again."

"That could be," Breck said.

"I'm going to see if I can find Brian," Avia said.  She turned and walked out of the parlor.  The second first floor office was close to the kitchen.  The door was closed when Avia approached it.  She knocked.

"Come in," Brian said.

Avia walked into the office. "Working?"

"Almost done," Brian said as he tapped a few keys on his keyboard.

"Have you talked to L?" she asked.

"Briefly," Brian said. "I gave him an update on Benton's status and yours.  Although, I very much exaggerated your injuries.  I said you were still dizzy and not cleared to fly."

Avia laughed. "Fine by me."

"How are you feeling?" Brian asked.

"Well enough," Avia said. "No headaches."

"Is the new medication still working?" Brian asked.

"Better than anything else has," Avia said.


"It's still an adjustment," Avia said. "I don't know what to do with myself."

Brian hit send on an email. "There's lots of time in the day when you're not spending half of it high."

"Something like that," Avia said. "And we don't have any work."

"We will," Brian said. "We'll have a meeting tomorrow morning about infiltrating the bar and how we're going to accomplish getting the money they owe us."

"They deserve it for all the hell they have put us through," Avia said.

"We may not stop here, depending on how this goes," Brian said. "The way I see it, we have three jurisdictions we can go after."

"We may want to be careful," Avia said. "We don't want anyone to link us to the police stations that have wronged us."

"We'll see how they react after we complete each one," Brian said. He turned off his laptop and closed the lid before standing. "Do you not want to do this?"

"I think they need to pay," Avia said as she walked toward Brian. "But is there another way to do it?"

"I kill people.  You fly drugs.  What else do you want to do, Avy?" Brian asked.

"You're also good at computers," Avia said.

"Not that good," Brian said. "I'm good at hiding money. If I have a credit card or an account number, I can steal it, but that's it."

Avia shook her head. "I can't think of anything else."

"The only concern I have is that you look very unique," Brian said.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Avia asked.

"You have flaming red hair and you're twenty pounds underweight," Brian said. "Most people remember that."

"There's not a hell of a lot I can do about my appearance," Avia said. "And you know that department is full of men."

"Can we dye your hair?" Brian asked.

"No.  We cannot dye my hair," Avia said.

"Do you have any wigs?" Brian asked as he led her out of the office.

"Maybe," Avia said.

"And makeup?" He asked as they walked up the stairs.

"I do not own any makeup," Avia said. "I can find something different to wear though."

"That'll work," Brian said.

Avia walked into her master bedroom and over to her dresser. She opened the bottom drawer and dug through the clothes.

"What are you doing?" Brian asked.

"Looking for this." Avia pulled a bottle out of the drawer, closed it and stood.

"Fuck," Brian said.

"It's not what you think it is," Avia said. She opened the bottle and pulled out a pill.

"That's not heroin." He took the pill from her and inspected it. "What the hell is this?"

"It helps people relax," Avia said.

"That could be useful.  How long does it take to dissolve in a drink?" Brian asked.

Avia walked over to the minibar and poured scotch into a glass. "Drop it in."

Brian dropped the pill in the glass.  It settled to the bottom and started to fizz. "I don't like that fizz, Avy."

Avia picked up the glass and swirled it. "Yeah, but look.  It's gone."

Brian nodded. "Those are good."

Avia took a small drink. "Now, taste it."

Brian took the glass from her and sampled the liquid. "I can't tell a difference."

"Exactly," Avia said.

"What kind of dose did we just get?" Brian asked.

"Next to nothing," Avia said. "We could have drank the entire glass, and it wouldn't have mattered much to us." She walked into the bathroom and dumped the drink down the sink.

Brian poured two more drinks. He handed one to Avia when she walked out of the bathroom. "I guess there's a benefit to being us."

"If Benton would have even sampled it, he would have been knocked on his ass." Avia drank half the glass.

Brian laughed. "Of course." He drained his glass before turning and looking at the digital clock on the bedstand. "It's after midnight."

Avia finished her glass and set it on the bar.  She pulled her dress off over her head and tossed it onto the floor.

Brian walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower before undressing. He tossed his clothes in the hamper. By the time he turned around, Avia was standing in front of the shower, waiting for the water. Brian wrapped his arms around her from behind. "The water is probably hot." He kissed the side of her neck.

Avia stepped into the shower with Brian kissing her neck. She grinned.

Brian turned her around and kissed her deeply as he backed her against the water-warmed tiles.

"I thought you said we weren't fucking tonight," Avia said.

"I said..." Brian looked at her, trying to decide if she was turning him down. She'd never turned him down before, and it was unlikely she was turning him down now. Brian rewound his words earlier in the evening and realized he'd setup a different expectation.  She didn't want shower sex. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. "Something entirely different. You're right."  He grabbed a washcloth and lathered it before slowly washing her body. She drug the soapy cloth over her skin from her neck down to her toes. Brian tossed the washcloth onto the bench and grabbed the shampoo.

Avia leaned with her back against him as he washed her hair.

Brian kissed the side of her neck and nudged her under the hot water so she could rinse.  He grabbed a clean washcloth and washed his body before washing his hair.

"Were you confused?" Avia asked as she rinsed the soap from her hair.

"I was for a minute," Brian said. He finished washing and stepped under the water next to her. 

"We always fuck in the shower," Avia said. She finished rinsing and stepped out of the shower.

"It's convenient," Brian said.

"Opportunistic," Avia said as she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her hair before grabbing a second towel and wrapping it around her body.

"When I see the shot, I have to take it." Brian finished rinsing and stepped out of the shower.  He grabbed a towel, dried his body then wrapped the plush fabric around his waist.

Avia laughed. She walked over to the sink and put toothpaste on her toothbrush. "Am I a target now?" She brushed her teeth.

Brian stepped behind her and kissed the back of her neck.  "Of course not. You're the gun case."

Avia nearly choked on the toothpaste foam.  She spit it into the sink and rinsed her mouth. "That's horrible."

Brian chuckled as he stepped to the second sink so he could brush his teeth.

"I'll show you a gun case." Avia walked into the bedroom. She tossed her towels against a wall before sprawling across the bed.

Brian walked out of the bathroom. He watched Avia on the bed. He knew there were men who wouldn't find her attractive. Avia was too thin. Too boney, and appeared too fragile, but Brian found her absolutely stunning. He slid onto the bed at the foot,  maneuvered above her and kissed her deeply.

Avia slid her hands down his back.

Brian leaned his mouth down to her ear and drug his lips along her lobe. "You are absolutely adorable."

Avia inhaled. "Am I?"

"Oh yeah." Brian kissed down her neck to her chest. He drug his tongue over one of her nipples then the other. Brian kissed down to her stomach then across to her hip bone.

Avia squirmed. "That tickles!"

"I haven't even started." He drug his hands over her hips then down her thighs. Brian massaged the muscles slowly. He found a couple tight spots in her thighs and calves and decided to work them out to spite the fact that this was supposed to be a sensual massage.

Avia huffed and attempted to pull her leg from his grasp. "Is this supposed to be a sports massage?"

"No," Brian said as he gripped her ankle to stop her from pulling away from him. "Just hang on.  I almost got it." He kneaded the muscle. "Was this what you hurt downstairs? I saw you hop off it."

"Yes," Avia said.

Brian slid his hands up and down her calf. "Is that better?"

Avia laughed. "Did you have to fix that right now?"

He kissed his way up her body to her mouth. "I did." 

Avia slid her hands down his chest to his abs.

Brian grabbed one of her hands and kissed it before slowly guiding his cock into her pussy. The massage had worked exactly as he had hoped. She was relaxed and soaked. He pistoned, sinking himself deep  then reversing his thrust.

Avia inhaled. "Damn that's hard."

Brian increased his pace. "It's ready."

Avia gripped his forearms as her pleasure increased. 

When Avia moaned, Brian pistoned harder. He knew he was supposed to be taking his time, but she was squeezing the hell out of his cock, and he was ready to blow.  

Avia met his thrusts, panting and moaning, until the pleasure was overwhelming.  She spasmed and screamed.

Brian sunk his cock deep inside her and groaned as he came. He leaned down and kissed her deeply as they finished.

Avia inhaled and relaxed into the bed.

Brian held her for a few minutes before moving off her and the bed so they could clean up.

It didn't take them long to scrub the slime from their bodies.

Once they were in bed, Brian pulled her against his body. When she wrapped around him, he wasn't surprised. He pulled the blanket tighter over her and waited. Avia was always cold when she first got into the bed. Eventually, she'd warm up, stretch out and fall asleep, and Brian didn't close his eyes until she was stretched out against his body and asleep. 


Chapter 3 - Monday in Sarasota


Monday Morning




Brian awoke thinking about Avia and their side job. Although, those two thoughts had nothing to do with each other. Avia was deeply asleep on his chest, using him as both a pillow and a mattress.  He moved her hair away from his face, baffled at how she could find her current position comfortable. However, he almost always woke up to Avia sprawled across him and sleeping as if he were the most comfortable thing she'd ever laid on.

What he couldn't reconcile in his mind was why he had conceded to Benton. It wasn't her drug addiction. That had never really bothered him, even as he watched it spiral out of control. Even as she increasingly came to him panicked because L's shipment hadn't come in, and she was out of heroin. Avia sure as hell couldn't go to Benton. Brian had become the go-to, and he could have berated himself. He could have sent her back to Benton, but he didn't.  He started keeping it in his office. Just in case, and it had come in handy more than once. Brian remembered injecting her himself on more than one occasion, then drinking a fifth and passing out next to her.

Brian chuckled.  He'd opened his eyes more than once to Benton standing over him and shaking them both. In those days, Benton wasn't mad because they were fucking.  He was furious because they were both high and passed out.

These days, they were a little calmer.  Avia was detoxing off the heroin.  Brian still drank a lot, but he didn't binge drink a fifth in an hour. It was progress.

He looked down when he felt Avia shift and inhale. Brian slid a hand down her back. "You awake?"

Avia shook her head. "You're thinking."

"About the job we're pulling tonight," Brian said.

Avia turned her head to look at him. "I don't believe that. You wouldn't still be laying here if you were thinking about that."

"Got me," Brian said. "I was thinking about you, and how we used to get high in my office and pass out."

Avia laughed.  She sat up. "We haven't done that in a while."

"Not since before Benton went to prison," Brian said.

"Why are you thinking about that?" Avia asked.

"I was trying to figure out why I gave up," Brian said. "Why I let Benton have you."

"I don't think you did," Avia said. "At least, not on purpose.  We still fucked when we could.  Benton was just around all the time, and..."

"That's exactly it, Avy," Brian said. "I can't finish that sentence either."

"He's not around now," Avia said. "And he hasn't been since before he got out of prison."

Brian sat with his back against the headboard.  He pulled her into his lap. "I would have shot her, Avy. Had I had any warning."

"I know," Avia said.

"It's part of my job to know what's going on.  I didn't even suspect it. I heard the gunshot when you did," Brian said.

"I heard them arguing," Avia said. "I was already headed to the room."

"I wondered how I didn't get to you in time," Brian said. "I should have been closer to that room."

"I was about to open the door," Avia said. "You couldn't have stopped me. I heard you curse."

"I cursed a blue streak Avy," Brian said.  "Benton was dragging you out of the bedroom. I looked inside and just lost it."

"Why didn't you bury her in the backyard?" Avia asked.

Brian sighed. "It was chaos. You were hysterical. Benton was dragging you out of the bedroom. L was yelling somewhere in the background.  Stephanie was bleeding all over the floor. I called nine-one-one.  I thought it was an accident. It wasn't until the ranch doctor got into the room that I realized she'd been shot in the head. I couldn't call emergency services back and tell them it was a false alarm. I knew they had you on the recording screaming that she'd been shot."

"You're the reason he went to prison," Avia said.

"I was. I was also the reason he got his sentence reduced," Brian said. "I took pictures while they were canvassing the scene."

"Where was I?" Avia asked.

"Passed out on the couch," Brian said. "The doctor gave you a tranquilizer."

"Who did I wake up next to?" Avia asked.

"Me. After they took Benton and I took a  shower, I laid down on the couch next to you," Brian said.

"I thought it was Benton," Avia said.

"It was until they took him for questioning," Brian said.

"Did we..."

"You slept with me. We did not fuck," Brian said.

Avia laid her head on his shoulder.

Brian wrapped his arms around her. "Does that upset you?"

"I thought L called the emergency number."

"He may have," Brian said. "But I know I also called it."

"I'm not mad," Avia said.

"You know he's going to show up here eventually," Brian said.

"He'll go to prison first," Avia said.

"Let's hope not," Brian said. "He doesn't deserve more prison time."

"I'll do what he wants," Avia said. "But I'm not happy about it."

"You know we can't formalize anything until this is solved," Brian said. "Locke already suspects us, and you know he'll check the clerk's office."

Avia grumbled.

"I know," Brian said. "It's just one delay after another."

Avia slid out of the bed.  "My staff probably has breakfast ready."

Brian cursed as he watched Avia walk into the master bathroom. He knew she was mad. He was mad at himself. What he had intended to say, he hadn't said. Rather than try to correct it, Brian stepped out of the bed and walked out of the master bedroom. He'd have to let Avia cool off before he tried to talk to her again.

Brian walked down the hall to his bedroom, thankful no one was in the hall because he had forgotten to put on a robe. He walked into his private bathroom and turned on the water to the shower.

It didn't take him long to wash his body and hair. He stepped out of the shower after turning off the water. He wrapped the towel around his waist and walked into the bedroom. It was empty. Brian was disappointed. He had hoped to find Avia waiting for him, but she was probably still in the shower.

Brian dressed in a pair if jeans and a long sleeved button shirt before putting on his socks and shoes. He walked into the hallway and looked toward the master bedroom. He still didn't see Avia. 

Brian walked down the hall, pausing at the staircase. He was concerned, but he wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.  Brian didn't want to go banging the door down while she was getting dressed, but he had no idea if she had any stashes left in the master bedroom.

He finally walked down the stairs and started to walk into the parlor to pour himself a drink.

"They already have coffee for you in the kitchen," Breck said.

Brian turned his head. "You're up early."

"I'm always up early," Breck said. "Joe is in the kitchen." He looked around. "Where's Avia?"

"Getting dressed," Brian said.

"You look put-out," Breck said as they walked toward the kitchen.

"Is it that obvious?" Brian asked.

"You look worried," Breck said. "And she hasn't left your side since I got here."

"I meant to tell her something this morning, and I told her everything but that," Brian said.

"How'd that happen?" Breck asked.

"I don't know," Brian said as he stepped into the kitchen. He sat down at the table across from Joe.

"Where's Avia?" Joe asked.

"Getting dressed," Brian said just as a hot cup of coffee was sat in front of him. "This looks too hot to drink."

The chef sat a bottle of Bailey's Irish cream in front of Brian and a shot glass.

Brian poured a shot into the glass then poured it into his coffee until the cup was nearly overflowing. He took the shot.

"Jesus, Brian, starting early?" Joe asked.

"I suspect he got into a fight with Avia this morning," Breck said as he sat down at the table.

"It wasn't really a fight," Brian said. "I just reminded her that there were certain things we couldn't do until it was assured that Benton wasn't going to prison."

"And what'd she do?" Joe asked after taking a drink of his coffee.

"Got up and took a shower," Brian said.

"Without riding your cock first?" Joe questioned.

"That's correct," Brian said. He took a drink of his coffee.

"You should pour that Bailey's in her coffee," Joe said.

"I should," Brian said before glancing at the doorway.  He didn't hear any footsteps yet.

"Breakfast should be finished in about five minutes," the chef said as he walked over and sat a large cup of coffee at the empty place. "For Avia."

Brian poured Bailey's in it.

"What'd you want to tell her?" Joe asked.

"I don't think I want to talk about." Brian took a large drink of his coffee.

"Come on," Joe said. "There are some pretty heavy rumors flying around the family regarding you and Avia."

"And Benton's fucking furious. Right?" Brian questioned.

"That's the rumor," Joe said. "He was damned determined to get to Florida right now."

"I asked Avia to marry me," Brian said.

Joe choked on his coffee. "You what? I know you said something about the ring the other day."

"I bought it," Brian said.

"I guess I missed the part where you asked her to marry you," Joe said.

"I didn't specifically say," Brian said.

"That's explains Benton," Joe said.

"What explains Benton?" Avia asked as she walked into the kitchen.

"Where have you been?" Brian asked. He motioned. "You're coffee is here."

"Getting my injection," Avia said. She sat down at the table.

"Brian was telling us he beat Benton to the punch," Joe said.

"Well, Benton's been slow and neglectful lately," Avia said. She took a drink of her coffee then looked at Brian. "What's in this?"

"Bailey's," Brian said.

Avia laughed. "You put Bailey's in my coffee?"

"It was Joe's suggestion," Brian said as the chef sat their plates of food in front of them. It looked like every plate was different.  His was filled with fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy and bacon.  Avia's has scrambled eggs with cheese and butter, hashbrowns and sausage links with toast, and Breck and Joe appeared to have gravy cheese bowls.

"There's more on the stove," the chef said. "You're all free to get whatever seconds you want, but if I remember correctly, those were your favorites last time you were all here."

"Except Breck," Brian said.

"He looked like a gravy and cheese man to me," the chef said.

"This is perfect," Breck said between bites.

The chef set the ketchup next to Avia.

Avia drowned everything but her toast in the ketchup.

"Do you not like gravy and cheese, Avia?" Breck asked.

"Just ketchup," Avia said as she picked up her fork.

Brian half-grinned. "Not first thing in the morning, she doesn't. She wants either country potatoes or those frozen hashbrowns, scrambled eggs and toast. If she's not feeling well, it's usually a cherry turnover or danish."

"I feel fine this morning," Avia said between bites.

"I see that," Brian said. He ate his food and took another long drink of his coffee.

Avia drank her coffee and finished her food.

Brian glanced over and saw Avia's sausage links.  He speared then with his fork and ate them.

Breck chuckled.  He took a drink of his coffee. "Are we going to talk about tonight?"

Brian poured more Baileys in his coffee after the chef filled it. Then, he topped off Avia's coffee. "We're going to the Cuff and Collar tonight.  It's a known cop bar here in Sarasota. The goal is to copy their cards.  Debit. Credit card.  It doesn't matter to me. I can use either one."

"We said last night that I was maintaining security," Breck said.

"You know the most about cops.  I want you to watch the room. Keep an eye on Avia. If she looks like she's in trouble, interfere," Brian said.

"I can do that," Breck said.

"Joe, you're running point.  I want you to get the cards from Avia and get them to me," Brian said.

"Am I putting them back?" Joe asked.

"We want to put them back if we can," Brian said. "I don't want to leave a stack of cards somewhere. Plus, if they have them, it'll take them longer to suspect something."

"Where are you going to be?" Avia asked.

"Hopefully, somewhere in the bar.  It depends on how it's laid out," Brian said. "Otherwise, I'll be in the car."

"How many do you want to do tonight?" Avia asked.

"Three or four. Not very many," Brian said.

"That may not be very much money," Avia said.

"We're going to hope it's about eight thousand," Brian said. "That'll give us each two."

"Doesn't seem worth doing," Avia said.

"We have to start small.  These are cops," Brian said.

"I wonder what Benton's next job was," Avia said.

"I don't know," Brian said. He took another drink of his coffee.

"Can you find out?" Avia asked.

"All that information goes to Benton directly," Brian said. "If the idea doesn't come from L, then Benton works on them himself."

"Was that rich bitch Benton's idea or L's?" Avia asked.

"That was an L idea," Brian said.

"We're still waiting on that money," Avia said.

"Next week," Brian said. "Can we stick to the task at hand?"

"How do you want me to get their wallets?" Avia asked.

"However you can get your hands on it and hand it to Joe," Brian said.

Avia looked at Brian.

"I know what that implies," Brian said.

"Just so long as you know," Avia said.

"And don't wear that ring tonight," Brian said.

"I won't," Avia said.

"Anyone have any thoughts on the plan?" Brian asked.

"I think it's fine," Breck said.

"No adjustments from me," Joe said.

"I've got some work to do," Brian said.

"Has that truck filled the Seneca yet?" Joe asked.

"It was supposed to be here yesterday," Brian said.

"I need to take a look at her plane," Joe said.

Avia turned her head just as her butler walked into the room. "Charles, can you bring the car around for Joe?"

"Of course," Charles said.

"He's going to the pier," Avia said.

"I'll take him," Charles said as he walked out the back door.

"You can follow or you can wait out front," Avia said.

"I think I'll join him," Breck said.  "The pier has a nice view."

"Charles has keys to the warehouse," Avia said.  "He'll let you in."

"You don't want to come along?" Breck asked.

"No. Joe's test flights are a lot like my crashes," Avia said.

"Speaking of that, how's your head?" Brian asked as he stood.

"Fine," Avia said. "The doctor said it was healed."

"We'll be back later," Joe said as he and Breck walked out the back door.

Avia stood from the table and looked around the kitchen. "Why did everyone just exit like that?" She looked at Brian.

"Cause I'm going to work, and there's nothing to do until we leave tonight," Brian said.

"You were talking about something else before I walked into the kitchen," Avia said.

"I was wondering where you were," Brian said.

"You didn't join me," Avia said.

"I thought you needed some space," Brian said.

"I was irritated," Avia said. "But I understand."

"There are things that are outside of our direct control right now," Brian said. "If Locke finds a marriage certificate on file for us, Benton is done. His defense doesn't stand a chance."

"I know," Avia said. "And I know you're still worried about Benton making me change my mind."

"Do you miss him, Avia?" Brian asked.

Avia nodded. "But, I'm not sure what I miss."

"What could have been," Brian said.

"Have you heard from him?" Avia asked.

Brian pulled out his phone.  He dialed Benton's phone, hoping that Grant had charged it and handed it to him. Brian handed his phone to Avia. "If he answers, he answers.  I have to get some shit done."

Avia held the phone up to her ear as she watched Brian walk out of the kitchen.

"Brian, has something happened?" Benton asked from his hospital bed.

"It's not Brian," Avia said as she walked out of the kitchen and turned into the back parlor.

"Avy." Benton turned off the TV in his room. "Where's Brian?"

"Working," Avia said. She sat on the couch.

"He called me with his phone and handed it to you?" Benton asked.

"He did," Avia said. "He knows how much you love answering my calls."

"I've called you ten times in the last two days," Benton said. "Where's your phone?"

"I'm not sure," Avia said.

"It's probably upstairs," Benton said.

"How's your shoulder?" Avia asked.

"It's getting better," Benton said. "I tried to get Joe to come get me, but he said the flight would be too hard on my shoulder."

"My plane doesn't fly well with the pontoons," Avia said. "What did you want when you called?"

"Nothing, Avy. I just wanted to talk to you," Benton said.

"Have they charged you?" Avia asked.

"Felon in possession of a gun," Benton said. "Brown doesn't think they can make it stick.  I'm the one who's shot."

"With or without your defense?" Avia asked.

"He thinks they don't have a chance in hell either way," Benton said. "But he likes the angle that I picked it up to save you."

"Isn't that the truth?"Avia asked.

"It is the truth, Avy," Benton said.

"Would you do the same thing now?" Avia asked.

"I would," Benton said. "And before you accuse me of lying to further some goal, why did you really call me?"

"Are you accusing me of having an agenda?" Avia asked.

"I am," Benton said.

"You son of a bitch," Avia said.

"That sounds like you have an agenda," Benton said. "Is it to get me to release you from providing any part of my defense?"

"Yeah. That's why I called," Avia said. "I just wanted to see how your case was going so I could ask you to release me from any obligations to you."

"I can't do that," Benton said.

"I didn't think you could," Avia said. "But, I guess it doesn't hurt to ask."

"At least you asked," Benton said. "Am I still welcome in Florida after I heal?"

"You are," Avia said. "But that's not because I want to talk to you."

"Why then?" Benton asked.

"You'll find out when you get here," Avia said.  She ended the call and stood.  

The office Brian was using was two doors from the back parlor.  Avia walked in without knocking and dropped his phone on the desk.

"Hey. I need that for business." He looked up at her then stood. It took him less than a second to walk around his desk and grab her.  Brian pulled her against his body. "What'd he say?"

"He said... He accused me of calling him to get out of being part of his defense," Avia said.

"Fucking idiot," Brian said as he held her. "He's lucky he's no where near here."

"You'd shoot him?"

"I"d break every bone in his mother fucking body," Brian said as he nudged her over to the couch.  He sat down and pulled her into his lap.

"Did you know he'd say that?" Avia asked.

"No.  I haven't talked to him in days.  All I have are the messages that he's left asking me why you haven't called him back. I thought he was going to beg you to come back to Texas," Brian said. "But you said you missed him." He cursed. "I would have never called him if I thought he was going to accuse you of anything."

"Well," Avia said. "He doesn't miss me."

Brian kissed the side of her face.

Avia looked at him. "You stopped working."

"You looked like you were gonna cry," Brian said.

"You're not lying," Avia said.

"I'm not lying," Brian said. "I wasn't pushing you to call him back though."

"You mentioned he called," Avia said.

"I didn't emphasize it like I should have," Brian said. "So, if I'm guilty of anything, it's that."

"Is that why you called him and put the phone in my hand?" Avia asked.

"When you mentioned you missed him, I thought it was time you called him.  I can't keep you secluded from him if you want to talk to him," Brian said. "We still have to work together too."

"I don't know what I was thinking," Avia said.

"You were thinking exactly what you said," Brian said. "What you didn't expect was to get accused of something you weren't doing." He paused. "What did you say after that?"

"Told him he was right.  I was calling because I didn't want to provide his defense," Avia said.

"Oh shit," Brian said.

Avia shrugged. "It's not how I envisioned it going."

"I guess not," Brian said. "What did he say?"

"He asked if he was still welcome in Florida.  I told him yes, but not for any reason he knew about," Avia said. "Then, I ended the call."

"Serves him right," Brian said. "I am sorry you didn't get to tel him what you wanted to say."

"I guess it didn't need said," Avia said.

"I have a confession," Brian said.

"What's that?" Avia asked.

"When I woke up this morning, I was watching you sleep," Brian said.

Avia laughed. "How's that a confession?"

"Because when you woke up, all I wanted to do was hold you," Brian said. "But we got into that deep conversation, and it ruined the mood, so I never really said what I wanted to say."

"What was that?" Avia asked.

Brian leaned his mouth toward her ear. "You're adorable when you sleep, and I really do love you."

Avia kissed him. "I think you just proved it by calling Benton even though you knew what I wanted to tell him."

"I might be a glutton for punishment," Brian said. He relaxed when she laid her head on his shoulder.

"Is this what you wanted to do?" Avia asked.

"This is it, right here," Brian said as he slid a hand up her back. "Unfortunately, I was in the middle of emails when you walked in."

"Collecting money?" Avia asked.

"Sending invoices," Brian said. "And paying some of our suppliers."

"Do you want me to get up?" Avia asked.

"No, but I need you to get up so I can get this finished," Brian said.

Avia slid out of his lap.

"I'll come find you when I'm done," Brian said.

"I'll be downstairs watching a movie," Avia said.


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