He was feeling decidedly woozy as met Haas and Holly. Ruthlessly pushing down the pain and nausea that threatened to overwhelm him, he could not resist a smile as he looked at Holly. She had obviously decided that her pajamas were more practical than any of her flirty outfits, and had changed into green and black fleece pants and a Loki T-shirt.
“Laugh at me and as soon as we find out girl I will give you the ass-whooping of your life,” she threatened, accepting a rifle from Haas and cocking it with alarming competency.
”I wouldn’t dare,” he smiled. “I just would have pegged you more as a Cap fan.”
”I see no reason to choose,” she smiled. “Shall we?”
”Haas, lead the way,” he nodded.
It was a painfully long walk to the outskirts of the property. To his humiliation Magnus even had to call a brief halt to rest when they got as far as the gazebo. He hates wasting so much as a minute, but at the same time if he pushed himself too fast he would be no good to anyone when they got there. Sitting on the bench where he had just the day before shared such an intimate experience with Lanie brought unaccustomed tears threatening his eyes. They were going to find her, he insisted silently to himself. They were going to find her and she was going to be alright, because he didn’t know what he would do if she wasn’t.
When they finally arrived at the boarded up shack, he began to wonder if his instincts had been thrown off by the pain he was under. The door was closed with an old, rusty padlock and the one small window had been completely boarded over. Not a sound could be heard from inside. The whole thing gave the appearance of having been abandoned for years.
“I don’t suppose you have the key?” He asked Haas doubtfully.
“Gita must somewhere,” the billionaire shrugged apologetically, “but I would have no idea where.”
”So much for doing this quietly.”
Pointing his gun at the deadbolt, Magnus squeezes the trigger shot it off. Yanking open the door, he stepped in to the small room and blinked as his eyes tried to adjust to the dark. As the scene was beginning to come into focus, he heard the distinct click of a handgun being cocked.
"Drop the weapon, detective," a crisp voice said from inside, "or your girlfriend is going to get very messy."
As the occupants came into view, Magnus saw Lanie, his darling girl, bound to a chair, gag in her mouth, and pistol crammed against her temple. Her eyes stared wide and terrified at him, holding silent plea. It was as though his heart stopped beating and a pain far more bruising then the physical damage his body had taken earlier overcame him. Not hesitating a moment he put the safety back on his gun and carefully set it on the ground. His eyes left his love's face to finally look at the monster who held her at gunpoint and stared in disbelief at Agnes, the chatty receptionist from Haas' building. She looked as perfectly put together as ever, from her manicured nails to her well coifed head. The only thing different was the look of smug determination on her face.
"I would tell you two to drop your guns as well," a sweet voice said from outside, "but you don't really think I gave you weapons with live rounds, do you? All the same, I suppose you should put them on the ground. Wouldn't do to leave you clubs now that I think of it."
Magnus looked over his shoulder quickly to see the motherly housekeeper brandishing a rifle similar to those Haas and Holly were reluctantly lowering to the ground. Had the world turned upside down? Haas' two most loyal servants, by all appearances, were the architects of all of this?
"Don't look so shocked, detective," Agnes purred, giving him the flirtatious smile he remembered from his conversations with her. "Who do you think really runs the day to day of his empire, after all. You want something done right, don't trust one of these flighty young things to pull the strings, go with maturity. We could teach you a thing or two."
"So it seems," he smiled queasily, still painfully aware of the gun to Lanie's head. "I tip my hat to you ladies."
"And ours to you as well," she simpered. "It takes quite a bit of determination to keep going as battered as you look. In fact, I have a proposition for you, if you're interested..."
"And what would that be?" he played along, flashing her as good of a grin as he could manage with his battered face.
"Well, Gita and I are about to become very, very wealthy women. My nephew Sven, you remember, the one who intercepted those obscene photos of your little cupcake here? He's set up a tidy little offshore nest for us to retire to. White sand beaches, umbrella cocktails, no extradition treaty... you know the kind of place. But we will be in need of someone to see to our... security. I would think a strapping young man like yourself would be perfect for the job. I guarantee that you would be very well compensated for all of your efforts. What do you say? Interested?"
"I don't know," he laughed, stalling for time. "I'd have to think about it. I have to admit, a cop's wages are rather meager. Still, I couldn't just abandon Miss Greyson. It wouldn't be gentlemanly of me."
"She'll get over it," Agnes snapped, sneering at Lanie.
"Only if she's alive to do so," he pointed out. "I did make a promise to keep her safe, and I always keep my word. If I didn't, what good would I be to you?"
"Don't be a fool, Agnes," Gita huffed, herding Eric and Holly in the door. "He's just stalling for time. Do you really think a young lothario like him is going to be satisfied playing nursemaid to two old broads like us?"
"Speak for yourself!" Agnes shot back at her compatriot. "You might be all dried up, by I still have needs, and that boy could fill many of them."
"So gross," Holly muttered under her breath, rolling her eyes.
"Shut up, you little tramp!" Agnes seethed, turning her gun to point it at Holly.
It was all Magnus needed. As soon as Agnes' attention was turned away, his eyes caught Lanie's and he motioned hard to the left, towards her capture. Understanding instantly what he intended, his brilliant girl rocked her chair hard, crashing into Agnes. As the older woman fired wildly, Magnus leapt to tackle her, pinning her down on the floor and wrenching the pistol out of her hand.
As Agnes' wild shot rang out, Holly had not been idle. True to her word, she was every bit the fighter she claimed. In the time it took Magnus to have Agnes disarmed and on the ground, Holly had kicked out with one flying leg and connected her heel to Gita's sternum. The older woman let out an oomph and doubled over, allowing Haas to grab the rifle with one had and train it on his erstwhile housekeeper. It was all over so quickly, they hardly had time to register the muffled cry from Sian, tied to a chair on the far side of the room, who was quickly loosing blood from the bullet wound in his right shoulder.
"Oh my god! You've been hit!" Holly shrieked, and ran over to the other policeman.
Making quick work of untying the gag, she wadded it up into a ball and pressed it hard against the wound.
"Mags, mate," Sian said, wincing with pain, "if this is the girl you were talking to me about, I am all in!"
"I thought you might be," he smiled, exhaustedly. "Haas, give me your tie."
Still holding the rifle pointed at Gita with one hand, Haas used the other to undo his neck tie and hand it off to Magnus. When he was satisfied with the bonds securing Agnes' wrists, Magnus was finally able to turn his attention to Lanie. Dropping to his knees in front of her, he gently undid the gag covering her mouth. When he was able to remove it, she worked her mouth for a moment, regaining a normal feel. Trembling a little, her eyes pored over his face, flinching at every scrape and bruise.
"Are you alright?" she asked him, biting her lower lip.
"Am I alright?" he laughed, unable to believe her question. "Your the one who had a gun pointed to her head!"
"But your face..." she said, horror in her voice.
"Well, if you were only with me for my looks, I'm afraid you're going to be out of luck for a while," he chuckled.
"Oh, don't be a daft idiot," Holly shot at him, "you're still the most deadly attractive man I've ever seen in my life, even with the bruising!"
"Damn, Martinsson," Sian sighed. "Could you for once leave some of the female attention for the rest of us?"
"No worries," Magnus reassured his friend as Holly untied him. "As far as I'm concerned, there is only one woman in the entire world for me. You can take your pick of the rest."
"Oh, please stop," Agnes groaned. "You're making positively ill."
As Holly helped Sian out of his chair, the wounded cop pulled his cuffs out of his inside pocked and snapped them around Gita's wrists.
"I like a man who comes prepared with his own cuffs," Holly flirted, making Sian blush.
"Okay, you two," Magnus laughed, "enough flirting. Do you think you can get these two back, at least as far as the gazebo? Sian, can you manage, or is the shot too bad?"
"I've had worse," his friend shrugged, obviously wanting to impress Holly, but just as obviously not as seriously injured as Magnus has feared. Within a few minutes he, Holly, Haas, and the two treacherous women were headed back the direction of the house.
It was over. It was over and no one else had died. The words rang in Lanie's head, even as she watched in disbelief as Gita and Agnes were ushered out of the shack and away from them. The minutes in the darkened shack, waiting with a gun digging in to her head, were the longest Lanie could remember. She had been scared, not so much for herself, but for Magnus. She was half convinced that he would do something foolishly heroic in his attempt to save her and wind up shot. Her mind was full of pictures of him bleeding out on the floor before her.
It was strange; even though she knew he had been in a punishing fight not more than hours before, she had never really thought he would fail to find her. He was smart and determined, and he loved her. She knew it with a certainty that blazed within her. He would come to her rescue, and it was up to her to some how keep him from dying once he did.
In the end, of course, she had been nothing more than a puppet for him, moving when he told her to in an effort to distract the madwoman holding her. Holly, though! Holly had proven all her boasts about martial arts true and then some! Lanie had always secretly thought her friend was exaggerating when she talked about the classes she took and the skill set she had achieved. She would never doubt her again after the impressive ease with which she had taken down an armed assailant.
"You're really alright?" Magnus asked her, looking intently into her eyes with his own puffy, bloodshot blues.
"I am," she assured him with a tremulous smile. "Although I'd be better still if you untied me."
"Oh, I don't think so," he said, giving her a hard look.
"Magnus..." she began.
"Hush!" he ordered.
It was then that she realized they were alone in the cabin, everyone else have long since headed off. Standing up, Magnus pulled the cord to turn on the over head light, then walked over and shut the door firmly before turning to face her, arms across his chest.
"Now, Miss Greyson," he said, stalking slowly closer to her, "what do you have to say for yourself?"
"Thank you?" she ventured, trying a smile.
"Your welcome. Not the question."
"How many times, how many times did I beg you not to wander off by yourself?"
"A few..." she admitted, shame faced.
"And yet, what did you do the moment I was distracted?"
"I couldn't watch you be hurt!" she insisted, desperately.
"Answer the question!" he demanded.
"I wandered off," she admitted with a sigh, hanging her head.
"You wandered off," he echoed, nodding his head. "I have tried everything to correct your reckless and dangerous behavior."
"I am so sorry, Mags..."
"I have spanked you, denied you orgasms, proven to you that you belong to me, and yet still! Still you flout my request."
"I didn't mean to..."
"I don't know what else to do, Lanie," he groaned, pulling at his wildly curling hair. "I am at the end of my rope."
This was it, she realized. He had had enough. She should have known it was all too good to be true. That she would find some way the screw up the best relationship she had ever been in. The murderers had been caught, there was no case keeping them bound together. He no longer needed to pretend to date her. He was free to wash his hands of her and who could blame him? She hoped desperately that she could keep from crying until she was alone.
"As far as I can see, there is only one solution," he sighed, shaking his head. "I am sorry for your sake that it has come to this."
"It's okay, Magnus," she told him in a quiet voice. "It's what I deserve."
"Indeed it is," he agreed. "So as soon as we get back to the city from this hell of a trip, you are packing up your things and moving in with Cori and me."
"What?" she squeaked, completely taken aback by the turn of events.
"I thought I was going to loose you, lovely," he told her, tears standing in his good eye. "It was like I was about to loose myself. I don't want to be without you, Lanie, even for a day. Please say you'll agree. If not, I full intend to keep you tied to this chair and torture you until you change your mind."
"Of course I'll move in with you, you ridiculous man," she gasped, tears filling her eyes in turn.
"Really?" he smiled, blinking fast. "I know it's soon, and people will say we're rushing but..."
"People can say what they like," she interrupted. "Screw them all. I love you. That's all I care about."
"Oh, gods, lovely, I love you too!" he told her, and knelt again to kiss her fiercely, only wincing slightly at the pain to his jaw.
When he risen from her lips, Lanie smiled at him adoringly. He was hers. Her beautiful, angel-faced boy.
"Magnus," she cooed, batting her eyes.
"Yes love," he said, flashing his cocky grin.
"I do love you, but if you don't untie me this second, I will sic ninja Holly on you as soon as we are back to civilization."
"Fare enough," he laughed, beginning to work on her ropes. "But be warned, your days in bondage are not over. You have a lot to answer for, young lady, and if I were you I get used to the idea of being tied to a bed for a day or three. I intend to teach you a thorough, extended lesson."
Lanie felt the butterflies in her stomach dance at the very thought. She couldn't wait!