Chapter 4:

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.

I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward."

~ Kurt Vonnequt

Clean Up

Noelle frowned, glancing down at the mess that had been left on the kitchen counter. Genevieve, after having received a phone call from home to get her dog, had all but rushed out the door without so much as a glance backwards at her friend. Sure, the big creature meant a lot to the woman, but Noelle still wanted to slam her head in for leaving her with the dirty work.

Flour had fallen all over the floor, eggs had somehow gone to the ceiling (this she blamed on her friend whom hadn't put a lid on the blender), and sugar seemed to coat every inch of the counter.

At these times it was easy to recall why her friend had been enamored by the fact that the males next door could cook, as they didn't have a chance at making a single thing. The attempt at cupcakes had turned into an explosion of ingredients, the kitchen looking more like a disaster zone than a actual kitchen.

Giving a soft sigh she looked at herself, wrinkling her button nose as she realized that the kitchen wasn't the only thing that looked like a disaster. Her hands had large yellow gloves; her hair was sticking in all directions, frozen in the horrified Medusa impression by flakes of sugar and flour. Her face was colored white by the stuff, and her clothing was soaked in milk and water.

"You're lucky Evi," she glowered before moving to grab the sponge from the counter. Her mother would have a cow if she even so much as glanced at the current state of her home.

Giving another sigh of resignation the girl got to work, turning on the stereo and hooking up her ipod so that the music would distract her from the boredom the tasks brought on. Thus, she was so into cleaning that Noelle barely heard the sound of the doorbell, had it not been for a pause in the music she would have continued cleaning.

Not bothering to check who was at the door she simply called out that they come in, figuring it was Genieve having forgotten something or having gotten another call and returning to help the clean up.

Noelle leaned over, cleaning the floor under the table as she listened to the footsteps come closer. A voice cleared and with it came the snarky comment.

"I didn't think I'd get to see you in this position so soon, sezy." It sounded amused, especially when Noelle jumped up with a shriek, slamming her head on the table.

"Where's your friend?" Came the other male voice, her mind immediately identifying it with Marcus. "Did you guys try to be big girls and fail miserably?" He also sounded amused as he glanced at the barely cleaned mess.

Noelle turned, scowling as she looked at the twinkling amber eyes. A hand moved down, offering to help her up. The soft smile the girl had turned evil, and in seconds she'd grabbed onto the sponge (caked with flour she'd been cleaning up) and threw it squarely at the man's face.

With a plop it fell back down, the redhead scrambling out of the table and grabbing the still have full blender. She didn't even blink, just aimed the open side at the two men whom had in her eyes invaded her home and pressed the on button.

Before either could dodge the blender spewed out the ingredients already all over the kitchen, possibly making a bigger mess as it completely splattered all over the men.

Only when Noelle noticed that Traven was starting to make his way forward did she turn the machine off and slam it back on the counter, moving around the table and glaring. "That's for everything you both did!"

Marcus scowled, wiping at his clothes to get the ingredients off his attire. Looking extremely offended he gazed up at the smaller girl before turning and heading down the hall, murmuring something about finding out where Evi was.

The girl glanced towards Traven, who was smirking at her, which made an actual growl escape her throat. "What's so funny?"

Instead of answer Traven moved away from her guarded figure, grabbing the sponge and putting it under the sink so that it would get clean. Completely ignoring the dainty woman he called out to the man who'd come with him. "Marcus! Could you please go grab some more sponges from the house?"

Hearing the door shut was enough indication that the man was going to do exactly as requested. It was only after a few minutes of silence that Traven spoke up, rolling up his sleeves to reveal strong arms. "You're just cute little one. And now that I'm as messy as you, I'll stay and help you clean up a bit… what were you trying to do anyway? Tame a flour monster?" He raised a perfect brow at her.

"For your information, you jerk, we were making cupcakes until Genevieve got a phone call and had to go take care of something back home!" She wasn't about to tell him the mess had started before the phone call had even come.

Traven only smiled, handsome if he didn't piss her off as much as he did.

"And I don't need any of your help!" She added as an afterthought, though she didn't emerge from behind the barrier of the table.

"As much as I would like to believe that, you barely got an inch clean before you made an even bigger mess. So, I'm helping whether you want me to or not sweet thing." Traven turned his back to her, starting to wipe the counter with the sponge, having to rinse it every time as the flour coating was thick.

Noelle squawked, running around the table and grabbing at his arm, "get out!" And just as quickly as it happened she found herself spinning, bum on the counter as two arms trapped her on the counter.

She leaned back as Traven leaned in, the color in his eyes seeming to dance as he moved his face closer to the woman's. "Don't tempt me Noelle, your little gun doesn't scare me at all, and you're little spitfire attitude does nothing but make me even more attracted to you." He gave her a feral grin, a predator.

Shaking she used both hands to attempt to push the man off, though figured it would be easier to move a wall than the man who was now standing between her legs. "Now," he mumbled, getting closer.

The girl didn't like the way her body was reacting, trying to keep the scowl though the shock had easily overcome most emotions. "You clean the table, and I'll take care of the cabinets. Understand, or do I have to persuade you?"

Noelle found she could find her voice, and as he inched even closer she finally nodded her head. Immediately he pulled back, it was a slow movement, turning and facing the counter in which he had started to focus on.

She scowled again, wondering how the man could be so bipolar as she started on the table as he had kindly 'suggested.' It took a lot of power not to throw yet another sponge at the man for his arrogant attitude.

"Here you go boss," murmured Marcus, tossing several sponges on the counter, a lot larger than the small ones she was using.

Noelle caught one of them, surprised as she took the offered cleaning tool. "Um… thanks?" She mumbled, watching as Marcus merely nodded and did the same thing as Traven, rolled up his sleeves and started to clean.

She decided to turn her attention away from the men, focusing on solely the floor. It took several minutes of just the music and the work before it appeared as if no one had dirtied the kitchen at all. Something that the girl would be grateful for when her mother came home.

"Marcus, why don't you go… find her?" The other male suggested, watching as the man left the kitchen with a wave to the redhead who had collapsed on the table chair.

"Noelle," the man turned back towards her. "Did this help you at all?"

The girl smiled, standing up and moving towards him, "yes." It came out as a purr, a warning.

Traven watched her, not sure whether to moveforward or not. "So… um… where's your mother?"

She frowned, instantly the anger glittered in her eyes as she spoke up against the male, "why? Are you looking to attempt to get her to sell to you again? I'll still use my gun, got it?"

An amused smile lifted the corner of his lips as Traven moved towards the redhead. He leaned down, not laughing when she backed away from his face almost instantly. "I'll see you tonight, come to my house for dinner… if you don't I'll come drag you myself."

Within seconds he turned and left, leaving a gaping Noelle sitting at the table.

Short, yup...

I won't lie, this isn't my favorite chapter I've ever written.

I haven't read over this chapter to tell you the truth, so I apologize if it''s short, I'm just trying to remember where this story was going before I can continue, so this is somewhat a filler, and a bit of a way to get a certain other wolf after another certain character... for a different story.

So, I hope you enjoyed this somewhat...