Trials of the Innocent, Chapter 30
Lynne sat quietly on the Masterson veranda as she liked to call it and sipped at some ginger ale to calm her stomach. In the days following the covert operation and her hospital time her stomach had been uneasy, as had her mind. Her heart was finally settling, but its ability to be happy was clouded by her troubles.
Men from her team had been slaughtered under her command. It was to their families she answered to, not her boss. The lives of her good friends...and her lover…had all been at stake because of her inability to think quickly enough.
A mole had been under their noses undermining who knows how many jobs. Margaret's partner would never be able to walk again. Liam's voice was now permanently husky…he could no longer sing. She had one more nightmare to add to the prolific library in her mind. What ideas she could give to Alfred Hitchcock!
A bitter laugh escaped her long, pale throat and she coughed. The jerky movements caused her to wince involuntarily as her bruised ribs ached.
Her wounds had healed much, but the painful part was not yet over. Walking was still a large effort and her stitches from her bullet wounds still bled.
The thought of blood brought David's image to her mind and her tears were immediately awash with tears. Before, she couldn't let tears come, but Liam had taught her to cry.
"David I miss you," she whispered, thinking of David's pleasant, even features and his comforting smile. The guilt she felt over his death still plagued her, providing a basis for her new moral crises. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you. You would've known just what to say right now. You would've told me sooner that Liam was for me. You could've saved him from losing his singing voice…from getting those horrible scars…"
Some of the biggest fears Lynne had was that Liam would be forever unhappy because of his association with her. It was because of her he was kidnapped, that his throat was slit and that he almost died.
"Oh God!" Lynne choked out, seeing Liam's body on the ground and shivering. "Don't take him from me." She didn't know who she was begging; God perhaps. But she begged with everything in her
She'd never had anyone but David before and he'd been taken from her. Lynne's heart now belonged to Liam. She knew she'd die if Liam was taken from her.
"Who darling?" a feminine voice breathed and Lynne jerked around, gasping as she aggravated every wound she had.
Claire Masterson frowned and hurried towards her, kneeling beside Lynne and easing her around. "Sorry to have scared you," she apologized, sitting beside Lynne who'd clammed up.
"No problem. I just didn't expect anyone else to be out here for a while," Lynne explained and Claire nodded.
"You don't look very happy. I hope it's not my sons," Claire said with a frown and Lynne turned towards the older woman with wide eyes.
"No!" Lynne protested. "You're sons are great. Jason's…been such a good friend. Liam…he…"
Claire smiled and quieted the poor dear. "I know. You love him," she finished for Lynne who nodded with embarrassment.
"I'm happy for you both, but in order for you two to be happy with each other, you have to let him know what you're feeling. Crying out here by yourself won't get you anywhere with each other."
"There's nothing wrong," Lynne said slowly, trying to make her lie convincing.
Claire sighed. This girl was worse than she thought. Liam had told her and Matthew all about Lynne's past to see if they could help him with her, only after getting Lynne's permission first however. It had been difficult, but she knew how much it meant to Liam so she couldn't say no. "We both know that's not entirely true," Claire replied carefully, letting her eyes roam around their back yard. "Trust me, Lynne. As a mother of three-" she swallowed hard "-…now two, I know a few things about relationships and how my children work. Liam won't be happy until you lean on him. He wants to help carry your burden and help relieve you of it. He knows that you won't be ever rid of some of your scars…but he can make you happy. You just have to let him…just as he has to open up to you so you can make him happy."
Lynne's eyes rolled in their sockets, staring at Claire before her head slowly followed. "And you think it's that easy?" she asked in a low, very dangerous voice. Claire could see how on edge Lynne's emotions were; she was ready to break under her emotional burden. Watching her mother's murder, her long years of abuse, the difficult job, losing her best friend, almost losing Liam were certainly ingredients for inner turmoil.
"Nothing is easy Lynne but sometimes it's what you have to do," Claire said, reaching for the girl slowly and pulling her into a tight hug.
For a long minute, Lynne sat stiffly in her arms, fighting anger based in fear and pain and uneasiness. She'd never been held by a mother-like figure after her abuse. Her care had solely come from her own inner reserve of will. Finally she gave in, relaxing her forehead against Claire's shoulder. She was unable to return the hug, but she was able to receive it. "We love you here, Lynne," Claire whispered. "I already love you like a daughter."
The tears began to soak through Claire's shirt and the older woman smiled.
Her hands moved soothingly on the tiny young woman's back and she told Lynne about her youngest, the daughter who was longer with them. As the words began to flow, Lynne learned about Laura, how she behaved as a child, her close relationship with the family, the peculiar relationship she and Jason had and the unusual bond she and Liam had. From another's mouth Lynne learned how devastated Liam had been at the death of his sister; how Jason had been unable to function for a while. These men had more in common with Lynne than she realized. Lynne also learned what it was like for parents to lose a child. Soon, both women were crying and Claire pulled away, cupping Lynne's cheek in her hand.
"I shared that with you because I trust you," she sobbed, hiccupping between words. "In time I want you to grow to trust us like that. I know it can't be today…but we'll get there. I'm patient, Matthew is…Jason. And you already know Liam would do anything for you."
Lynne nodded and tried to smile. She opened her mouth, but shut it immediately. It took several moments before a story of her own poured out, that of her and David. It was not the story of his death, but of his life and their friendship.
"He sounds like he was an amazing man," Claire commented with admiration, stroking Lynne's cheek with her thumb. She could see the girl relax under her touch and smiled. Oh what a little love could do.
"He was the best thing that happened to me before Jason…and Liam," Lynne admitted. "He was the one who first cracked through the ice."
Claire smiled. "I'm glad he did. He gave you the chance for a beautiful life," she whispered as the door behind them opened. Claire dropped her hand lightly and turned to watch her youngest son walk out of the house with a yawn. The ragged scar on his neck made her wince; the thought that he'd had his throat slashed didn't sit with her well. It didn't deteriorate from his good looks, but rather, made her realize the mortality of her babies even more. She'd been so close to burying another two children.
"Liam," Lynne said and Claire was overjoyed to see how the young agent's eyes lit up at the sight of her son; the feeling was reciprocated. Liam sat beside Lynne, kissed his mother good morning and put his arms around his girlfriend.
"Good morning Lynne, mom," he said, kissing her temple. Lynne relaxed into his embrace as Claire rose.
"I'll leave you two alone and get some breakfast started," she said and they called an acknowledgement before Lynne turned to Liam.
"I have to tell you something," she said softly and Liam stared attentively into her eyes.
"I'm all ears," he said and Lynne rolled her eyes.
"You'd look retarded if you were," she said and Liam laughed, kissing her nose.
"You're an ass," he told her and Lynne smirked before allowing it to fade.
"You know that being with me…won't be easy. I have a lot of baggage…" Lynne began and trailed off, letting her gaze drop from his.
Liam tipped her chin up so she had to look him in the eye. "I knew that. Jason warned me and I told you I loved you even knowing everything about you. I know you were abused as a child and those scars can't be removed by laser surgery. I know losing your best friend is tough. You were in charge of a team that lost a few members. I won't begrudge that healing time or an open ear," he said and Lynne smiled, tears welling up yet again. She felt like a water fountain.
"You forgot one horrible event," she said and Liam quirked his head to the side.
Lynne kissed him gently, running her fingers through his hair. "Almost losing you. I've never felt real fear until that moment I thought I'd lost you," she admitted and the smiled on Liam's face made her heart melt. It was as though he suddenly realized that he was really loved by the woman he wanted to spend his life with.
"My sister would've loved you."
"I already love her," Lynne said and Liam frowned, hugging her tightly.
"Where did I find you? Why didn't I find you sooner? Why couldn't you have met her?" he demanded and Lynne laughed, a mixture of bitterness and relief. The frown had worried her.
"Who knows? Don't ask questions like that. I'm here now. We'll get each other through life, eh?" she said and pulled away from him. He attacked her lips suddenly and she moaned loudly, clutching at the front of his shirt.
The kiss quickly turned passionate and Liam's hands traced her curves. Lynne had to pull away from the kiss to breath, her mouth slightly agape and her eyes squeezed tightly shut. Her body had only been used to abuse, not such intense pleasure. It was almost painful.
"Liam, ah…I…can't…" she whispered, gasping between words and he pulled away, supporting her head with his hand, kissing her cheek once more.
"I'm sorry…I just…you're so beautiful and perfect. Is it horrible to say I want all of you?" Liam asked boldly and Lynne blushed beat red, pressing her palm against her chest.
"N-no," she admitted shakily. "I just…I'm not used to such…shows of emotion."
Liam laughed aloud at her wording. "You're so serious," she teased her and she looked away, still blushing.
"I know…I'm still new at this. I...I want you too. I just…"
"Don't worry. I wouldn't ask it of you and I'm not ready yet either. A good relationship is something I haven't tasted yet. Let's do this perfectly slow, step by step," Liam interrupted her and Lynne reached up to kiss him. He shivered.
"Although I don't know how you're not an experienced kisser," he admitted and Lynne shook her head.
"You're a liar," she told him and he took her hand, pressing it against his hard chest. Lynne gulped; he felt heavenly. But also, she felt his erratic pulse. "…oh…"
"Ya," Liam said with a cheeky grin, reaching forward to press his palm over her heart, covering the curve of her breast and her clavicle. "You too."
Lynne didn't flinch away from him. She trusted him implicitly. Smiling slowly, Lynne reached up to kiss him, letting her fingers trail up under his shirt along his hard stomach and chest. Heat bellied low in her stomach and Liam froze.
"Lynne…" he growled in a warning voice. The blood pounded in his ears. It was unbelievable how turned on he became around her. With her delicate hands caressing his flesh and her nails scraping his skin it was almost too much.
"Liam," she whispered and flashed him a teasing smile. Liam groaned.
"You horrible tease," he whispered, grasping her around the waist and imitating her gesture, trailing his fingers along the warm flesh of her sides, stomach, back and lower breasts. She felt magnificent.
Lynne's jaw dropped. So much for their talk. It felt like the wind was rushing in her ears and like her body had caught on fire. Her breath came in small pants.
Liam smirked. She was not immune. It would be a fun lifetime with her he knew.
'Lifetime? That means…marriage…'
The thought, for some reason, didn't frighten him. Somehow, he managed to convince himself that he didn't need to explore her enticing body anymore for the moment and withdrew his hands, using them to pull her hands from under his shirt.
"Stop it you damn minx," Liam scolded Lynne who giggled.
"Didn't know I could make you react like that," she said with a wink. "How to make Liam obey: feel him up."
Liam's jaw dropped. "Where did this personality development come from?" he demanded with a badly hidden grin and Lynne laughed, hugging him.
"You don't like it?" she whispered, nibbling on his ear.
"You know that's not true," Liam said, hugging her back. "It's not good for my iron will."
"What iron will?" Lynne demanded, leaning her head on his shoulder.
"The one that's harder than my stomach," he teased her, knowing she liked his body.
Lynne bit her lip. "You're bad." She massaged her shoulder which had begun to ache.
"You okay?" he demanded, his voice louder now, much more husky. Lynne felt the guilt sweep over her.
"Ya…I'm sorry," she whispered, brushing her fingers over his scar. "I'm sorry!"
"Shh," Liam said, putting his fingers over her lips. "No worries. We're together. Joking about how much we love and want each other. Nothing is going to happen anymore, lovie."
Lynne buried her face in his chest and he held her, sighing deeply. This would be difficult, but so worth it.
Thanks for your patience. Let me know what you think of this. Ideas for the next few chapters? Sorry for the long long long delay. No inspiration then a rigid work/school schedule. Not one day off! But I love my reviewers. I hope this satisfies!