Countdown to NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year! NaNoWriMo is less than a week away. This year my goal is to complete the third draft of the sequel to Once in Love with Lily. I’ll try to detail some of my experiences here for those of you who want to share in the journey.

Since it will be a very busy month, I thought I’d better post at least one more chapter of my GH fanfic to hold the Robert and Anna fans over for a while. Enjoy!

Previous chapters are available in the archives or at https://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson

Chapter 9

THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE

Robert awoke some time later. He presumed he’d been asleep for several hours, but with no windows to the outside world, it was impossible to tell if it was morning or night. He tried to read his watch, but it was pinned under Anna who was still soundly asleep. He tried again to turn his arm just enough to read it, but she stirred and he stopped. As he lie there wondering how long he should wait before waking her, she stirred again. This time, she turned over and before he could react, her arm was around him and her left leg had worked its way between his. Her breath was warm on his neck as she buried her face in it. He lay there for a few minutes, relishing the closeness. He knew he should wake her, but he hated to end the moment. He waited a bit longer then kissed her on the top of the head, and whispered, “Rise and shine, Anna, Love.”

“Mmm. Morning, Robert,” she said. She tilted her face up toward his and in the dim light he could see an awkward smile form as she realized the location of her left knee. “Sorry,” she said. She wiggled her leg free and turned onto her back. “Did you sleep all right?”

“As well as can be expected,” he said inching closer to the wall to afford her some room. “You?”

“Like a baby,” she said.

“Really?”

“Mmm. I always did sleep well in your arms.” She smiled at him again and licked her lips, catching the bottom one in her teeth.

“Oh, boy! Don’t let Duke hear you talking like that. I think he might have a thing or two to say about it.”

“I’m sure he would.”

“Do I detect a hint of sarcasm? Is there trouble in paradise?”

“No. I just… Forget it. I shouldn’t have said it like that.” She turned away from him. “We should probably get out of bed. What time is it?”

“Time for you to tell me what is or isn’t going on with you and Duke.”

“Robert…”

“Come on, Anna,” he said, leaning over to look at her. “Is something wrong?” When she didn’t respond, he leaned his chin on her bare shoulder. “Tell Bobby,” he said in a deliberately pouty voice that made her laugh.

She shook him off playfully. “Stop!” she laughed, “it’s nothing, really. It’s just… things are… different. That’s all.”

“What’s different?”

“I don’t’ know. He’s different.”

“And you think you aren’t?”

“No. I know I am. But I’d like for us to talk about things, you know.”

“About what?”

“I don’t know. Things. Us. Where we’re going. Where we’ve been. A lot has happened in the last twenty years. But every time I try and broach the subject, he shuts me down. He doesn’t want to hear about my life without him. Doesn’t want to talk about his.”

“And why do you suppose that is?”

“I know he was in prison for all of those years, but still, there must be something he can share with me. Some detail. Some thought. Something. Without being open with each other… it’s like we’re always keeping each other at arm’s length. There’s no… intimacy.”

He cleared his throat and looked thoughtful for a moment then spoke. “Don’t be too hard on him.”

“What?”

“Maybe he just isn’t able to talk about all of the things he’s been through.”

“Who’s side are you on?” she said. She moved on to her back again and looked up at him.

“You know I’ll always be on your side, love,” he said laying a hand on her shoulder. “I’m just saying that sometimes a man has… things. Things he can’t talk about. Things he keeps hidden for the good of his family and the people he loves.”

“What kinds of things?” she asked, noting that he seemed to be speaking from personal experience.

“How should I know? We’re talking about Lavery here.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Hey, don’t start. I just think you should cut him some slack. I mean, come on. You’re not exactly the easiest person to live with either, you know?” he said, changing the subject.

“Ha! And why is that?” she said. She turned over to face him.

“Any number of reasons.”

“What? Name one!” she said.

“For one, you’re combative!”

Her mouth fell open. She swatted him and he feigned falling into the wall.

“Ugh!” he laughed. “There! See!

“With you I am!” She laughed too. “You deserve it.”

“Says you!”

“Carry on.”

“Okay. You’re nitpicky. Always straightening things and reorganizing. Not that it stops you from filling the place up with all of your tchotchkes.”

“Ming vases and priceless treasures can hardly be called tchotchkes, Robert.”

“What would you call them?”

“Art,” she said matter-of-factly. Anyway, it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all gone now.”

“It is?”

“Of course it is. I died. Remember?”

“Oh. Right,” he said. He watched her as she raised her arm and ran a hand through her hair. She caught her lip in her teeth again. Her contemplative look told him he’d struck a nerve. Watching her, lying next to her struck something in him too. His tone softened. “And you’re distracting.”

She looked at him, puzzled.

“You are. Always playing with your hair, biting your lip like that… in fact, the general look of you… It’s distracting. I know I could hardly get anything done with you around. The poor guy probably can’t concentrate half of the time.”

“Who are you?” she said. “I can’t believe this. You’re actually defending him.”

“On principle, yes. For the sake of men everywhere I have to say—”

Before he could finish she put a finger to his lips.

“Robert, do you hear that?” Anna asked.

He paused and listened then nodded.

“Someone’s coming,” she said.

“We’d better get up. If the fun is about to start, we don’t want them to catch us off guard.”

Her eyes scanned the dimly lit room, her mind suddenly in overdrive. “Or do we?” she said with a devious smile. “I have an idea.” She quickly stood and reached back for the zipper on her skirt.

He raised his eyebrows at her. “Anna? What? What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m taking my skirt off. Unbutton your shirt, will you?”

“I never thought those words could cause such mixed emotions. Why?” he asked, though he did sit up and oblige her.

“I’m creating a distraction, giving us the element of surprise.”

“You certainly are!” he said.

“Do you still have your gun in your pants?”

“That’s a loaded question,” he snickered.

“Shut up, Robert. Do you?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” She peeled off her camisole and threw it on the floor. “Move over,” she said as she settled in next to him again.

“You want to fill me in on your plan?”

“No time. Trust me?”

“With my life.”

“Then just do as I tell you,” she said.

“Just like old times,” he laughed.

“Come here,” she said, directing him to move onto her as she wrapped her legs around him. She unbuttoned his jeans and tugged his shirt free. Then she slid her hands under the shirt and around his back, making sure that the tails covered her hand on the weapon in his waistband. “Now, kiss me. And make it look convincing,” she said as the lab door began to glide open.

“No problem there,” he assured her.

What happened next would have appeared in slow motion on television, but in reality, took only a matter of seconds. When guards Dale and Roy stepped into the room, they discovered two hostages, one of them half dressed, in a rather delicate position.

“What the…” Roy said. He stood dumbfounded with the breakfast tray in his hands.

“Whoa!” Dale mouthed without making a sound.

“Dale…” his brother whispered.

Dale waved a hand at Roy to keep him quiet. He smiled, seemingly interested in enjoying the show, but his finger still hovered on the trigger of his Heckler & Koch MP5.

As Robert lingered above her slathering her neck and chest with kisses, Anna undulated beneath him making it a point to sound so enthused that she couldn’t possibly have noticed the men enter. Meanwhile, out of the corner of her eye she watched. The moment she saw Dale loosen his grip on his weapon she looked up at Robert and moaned, “Robert, wait. You know I like to be on top.”

Robert took his cue. That was a dance they’d done many times before. With one swift movement the two of them flipped over so that she ended up straddling him.

“Oh! Don’t let me fall!” she squealed, and as he gripped her hips, she pulled the gun from behind him, rotated her upper body toward the men and fired three shots: one to take out Dale, one to maim Roy, and a third to finish him off once he’d dropped the tray and grabbed for his wounded leg.

“Very impressive!” Robert said breathlessly, looking up at her with a look that was complete awe and pure desire all at once.

“Thanks,” she said, her chest still heaving from the adrenaline rush. “Robert?”

“Yeah?”

“You can let go of me now,” she said, smiling down at him.

“I don’t know if I want to,” he said with a wink.

Sorry,” she said. She handed him his gun and patted his cheek as she climbed off.

He watched her re-dress. “A thong? Really?” he said.

“Hmm. Either that or a visible panty line. No thank you.”

“You never cease to amaze me, Anna Devane.”

“Pull yourself together Robert and let’s get the hell out of here,” she said. She slipped on her shoes and put on her jacket. She didn’t look back at him. She couldn’t. If she did, he would surely have noticed the blush in her cheeks.

He cleared his throat. “As you wish, Commissioner!” He stood and gave a quick salute.

“And another thing…”

“What’s that?”

“It was all in the line of duty, but… we probably shouldn’t mention our escape tactics to Duke.”

“You won’t get an argument from me.”

“Good.”

“I wouldn’t want any of his old mob buddies coming after me for infringing on his territory,” he chuckled.

“Very funny!” she said. She crouched down to search Dale and Roy. She found a cell phone, a pocket knife, and a small Glock pistol.

Robert collected his sport coat and joined her.

Anna handed him the knife which he pocketed. She slipped the phone into one jacket pocket and patted the other to be sure her badge was still there. Not that it would do her much good at the moment. “Ready?” she asked.

“When you are,” he said.

“Let’s go find our daughter,” she said. She stepped over the bodies of the downed guards and strode confidently out of the lab, pistol at the ready.

Robert followed, his heart still pounding after everything that had just transpired. He reminded himself to keep his mind in the game—to think about Robin, not Anna. Easier said than done he thought. Good God, how he loved that woman.

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