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Represent

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This is how I imagine Bull, Max, More Max, and Evie well her body anyway.

 

Evie always knew she was different. She grew up in a rich home but didn’t enjoy all the things most of her siblings did. Roland and Hesbeth liked to go to the hottest spots to be seen, they enjoyed shopping and flaunting their money. She had money and knew that it was a good thing. She saw others struggle and never took what she had for granted. She loved her family, she really did, but except for Max, they never understood her. She wanted to help, to heal.

She wanted to be a doctor but, came from a family of Lawyers. Her brother, Max, wanted to be a cop and really, truly didn’t care about what his family thought of him. He knew Evie would love him regardless of his life choices and that was enough for him. Evie wished she was more like Max. But she succumbed and went to law school as the youngest of the Trevelyan family. She was in grad school the year that Max became the detective that he always wanted to be. He was good at it, really, really, good at it. He grew in the ranks quickly and was the go to person for the top-level cases.

Evie was so proud of him. When she graduated law school he was there with some of his friends to support her. The rest of her family was there too, but it was really to represent the Trevelyan Law firm rather than to support her. They were to have a family luncheon the next day, they had reserved the swankiest restaurant in town and all the elite of Ostwick would be there. But for now, now she was celebrating with a few of her real friends (the ones that were not trust fund babies that she grew up with) as well as Max and his.

That’s when she first met him.

His name was Lawrence Hissrad. An awful name for a guy like him. He was big and tall and charming. His nickname was Bull and it suited him. He was tall, but that wasn’t the way to describe him. Bull was huge. He was easily 6’8” if not taller, and his shoulders were twice as wide as she was. And then there were his arms. They were tatted and sexy as hell. Evie loved big arms. His biceps are probably as big as her thighs.

Okay well maybe the part just above her knee. She had pretty . . . powerful . . . yeah that’s what they were. Evie had powerful thighs. She was never willowy like her mother or sister, and she didn’t care. Okay, well she was starting not to care. She was an awesome person, and her less than perfect body belonged to that awesome person. Except maybe her thighs are too powerful. But Bull looked like the kind of guy who would appreciate a little more. He was wearing a tight blue T-Shirt that did nothing to hide his pecs and the slight definition of his abs. His milk chocolate skin was flawless, and his eyes were as clear as dark honey. He had an easy smile that tugged on the large scar that ran across his left eye and split his brow. Evie knew there was a story there, but she wouldn’t be the cliché that asked the question. Between that and his left earing, it just intensified Bulls rugged good looks. Yes, there is no way she could ever think of him as Lawrence.

“So, looks like you got out without being a total asshole.” He said to her randomly at the bar they were hanging out at. “Do you know what you want to do now?”

Evie knew what she wanted to do, she just knew there was no way her family would allow it.  

“I’ll end up at my family firm and make millions just like the rest of them.” She told him. “Won’t I be impressive.” She added, mocking herself easily.

He looked at her closely for a while, she squirmed on the inside being scrutinized so overtly.

“Nah . . .” Bull finally said, “I asked what you wanted to do.”

Evie just looked at him, squinting with one eyebrow raised. She didn’t know what to say so she defaulted to the humor that she and Max were the only ones to develop in her uptight family.

“Well, I want to open a bar with cheap ale, expensive whiskey, and sexy men to work it. Do you need a job?” She eyed Bull up and down to ensure that he didn’t mistake her meaning. Bull had really caught her off guard. How could he possibly know? She met him like what, 30 minutes ago?

“Hah,” Bull chuckled a deep rumble starting from his belly. It poured over her like thick cream on fresh peaches. Almost made her shiver. “No seriously though? I really want to know.”

“What makes you think I don’t want to work in the most prestigious law firm in the Free Marches? You met me like half an hour ago.” Evie reminded him.

“Maybe, but I know your brother, and he knows you, and he told me a lot about you.” He brought his beer up to his lips to take a long drawn out pull of it. She watched his throat swallow; his neck was large and watching it stretch out like that made her think of other reasons for him to throw his head back. She felt her lips part slightly with want but hid her face before he started talking again. “According to him, you aren’t anything like the rest of the Trevelyan Law Firm, and that’s a compliment coming from him. I know you originally wanted to be a doctor, but they wouldn’t have it. I also know that him becoming a cop ostracized him to everyone else in the family and that’s why were having this little get together tonight because he isn’t invited to the big shin dig tomorrow.”

“Okay, . . .” Evie said, not knowing what else to say. It really took her a moment to digest what he was saying. Not just that he was saying it but that her brother talked about her that much. “You and Max must be pretty close, yeah?” She asked him.

“Actually, I am a Private Eye in Skyhold, we collaborated a few times, that’s how I got to know him. We just clicked, he’s a funny fucker and we were social so when I was up here visiting people, I asked what he was doing, and he invited me along.” As Bull was talking Evie grew disappointed. She wanted him to be around more she realized.

“Oh.” Was all she said. “So, you aren’t from around here?”

“Nah,” He said, taking another long swig of his beer, “Disappointed?” He asked with a smirk on his face.

Evie never felt like she should hide the truth away, so she answered honestly if perhaps a little breathy. “Yes. I was hoping to get to know you better.” She looked up at him then with a flirty look in her eye, “Too bad though.” She told him quite saucily while flipping her long dark hair over her shoulder. She thought for a moment that it was easier to be flirty and funny when there was no future involved. As Evie looked at Bull, she was sure she spied a moment of interest before it was covered up with a neutral grin.

“Well there’s a thought.” Not one to be daunted he asked her again. “So, what do you want to do?” He asked her pointedly staring her in the eye. Bull really wasn’t going to let this go was he, Evie thought.

“I want to open a pro-bono firm. You know represent the little guy. The ones who have a cause but can’t afford decent representation.” Now that she said it out loud for the first time, she couldn’t stop. “I want to represent the rape victims, the down trodden, and the ones taken advantage of. I have the money to open and support a firm for at least ten years. I will have to take some paying cases to ensure that I can keep great quality Lawyers. I need the ones who haven’t lost their ideals yet but are still ruthless.” She paused in her tirade and slowly looked up at Bull to gage his reaction. “I’ve never told anyone that before. It felt good.”

“That is good. I’m glad you told someone. It helps make it more real, don’t you think?” He asked her.

“Yeah, but I could never do it.”

“Why not?”

“My family would stone wall me. They have too many connections here and no one would want to fight such a powerful family.”

“Hmm, I’m sure you’ll work it out. Just focus on that passion and don’t let it go.” Bull drank the last of his beer and got up to get another. He paused, “Can I get you a drink?”

“Whisky and ginger, please.” Evie watched him saunter off, for it was a saunter. He held himself so confidently for someone of his bulk. She had seen large men before. Her father’s security walked with confidence, sure, but they were stiff and always tried to be intimidating. Even to her. Though she was never intimidated. She was so busy watching Bull that she failed to notice when Max sat down.

“So,” He said startling her out of her reverie, “you met Bull?” He was wagging her eyebrows at her like he knew her thoughts. Though he probably did. There was a reason he was so good at his job. Max had an easy manner that made people drop their guard around him, purposely or not. His smile was a little crooked with one dimple on his right cheek. His eyes were an intense bright leaf green. They were striking, and Evie knew that between the eyes and his smile that women had been trying to get their claws into his trust fund for years. Though the women had zero chance, Max knew that he was gay from the time he was 10. Never made a big deal out of it. Evie felt like she always knew, when she was old enough to understand something like sexuality, never thought it was weird, never knew the hell Max had to go through.  Max couldn’t have been happier to be cut off from the family fortune and making it on his own. Now men and women alike wanted him for his good looks, charm, wit, and sexy body, instead of his bank account.

“Yeah, it’s too bad he’s not from around here and I probably won’t see him again.” She looked back at him in line at the bar staring at his very carnal body. Not wistfully, she only just met him after all, but with definite interest and a tiny bit of a pout.

“Well . . . I kind of wanted to talk to you about that.” Max said clearing his throat. He was slightly uncomfortable which was unusual considering we told each other everything. She immediately thought she was lusting after Max’s territory or something.

“Oh, I’m sorry, are you and he . . ..?” Evie started before being shut down by Max’s amazing laugh.

“Andrastes tits, you think me and Bull . . .” He broke off into more laughter and Evie notices Bulls eyes shoot toward her at the table grinning. There is no way he could know what they were talking about, right?

“Okaaay,” Evie drawled out, looking back to Max as he wiped a tear from his eye. “I was just asking, Maker.”

“We work together, there is no way. Besides,” Max took a sip of his Whiskey neat, “He isn’t my type. I like them pretty, you know that.”

“Yeah, I guess I do. I was just wondering why you were so uneasy.” Evie always knew how to get a conversation back on track. It was one of the things that made her such a good lawyer. Max’s mood immediately shifted from jovial to somber.

“Well, I was going to tell you that you probably would see him again.” Evie looked up at Max as he spoke, desperately wanting to ask him more, but knowing that sometimes silence was the best way to keep someone talking. He took his time, had quite the large swallow of his whiskey, and Evie could see nervousness radiating from him. She folded.

“Hey,” she said softly grabbing Max’s hand. “You know you can tell me anything right?” Max only nodded so she continued, “I love you and there is nothing in this Maker forsaken world that could possibly change that.”

“I know,” Max sighed, “I just don’t want to disappoint you.”

“Hah!” Evie burst out laughing, then turned to look at Max her face changing from cheerful to one of sincerity, “You are the bravest person I know. I admire you so much. I hardly doubt you could tell me anything that would disappoint me unless you gave in to Mother and Fathers demands.” Evie paused for a moment there, looking into Max’s eyes hoping desperately that wasn’t what he was going to tell her. She waited.

“Well, Bull works a lot with different police all the time and he knows the Chief in Skyhold really well.” He looked at her then and whatever he saw on her face was enough to keep him going. “Well I guess Rutherford has heard a lot about my work here and told Bull that he thought my talent was waisted up here. He asked him to see if I was amenable to a transfer. That he would like to meet with me to see if I would be a good fit for his team.”

Evie’s heart dropped into her stomach just then, but she didn’t show it. She was really good at hiding her emotions. She could hide them from her parents, she could hide them from her class mates, hell, she could even hide them from clients and judges alike. But Max knew her too well, she couldn’t hide them from him, as much as she tried.

“Hey, nothing is official yet, Princess.” Max reached to take her hand and Evie almost let her face give in, but it was neither the time or the place. So she schooled her face and told Max the truth.

“That would be such a great opportunity for you. I am so proud of you Maxwell Trevelyan. I will miss you, but . . .” Max cut her off.

“Wait, I was thinking that you could come with me to check it out.” Evie looked at him blankly then. “So, I know you don’t want to work with the family, no matter what you tell everyone else, so maybe take this break, come with me and perhaps there will be something there you might want to do. You could escape the Trevelyan name for a while and if nothing clicks for you, you can come back. A few weeks would hardly affect anything here for you, after all.”

Evie had so many emotions running through her head. Hope, fear, excitement, nervousness, joy, anxiety, but the one that finally won out, the one that she couldn’t hide from anyone to save her life, the emotion was relief. Sweet beautiful relief, she never wanted to go to her family’s law firm. She never wanted to take on asshole clients who were trying to get away with something. She never wanted to work and live under her parents’ thumb and under her siblings’ scrutiny. For a moment Evie wanted to cry. Instead she allowed her relief to turn into pure unadulterated happiness.

Chapter Text

Bull knew he was in trouble the moment he was introduced to his friends’ little sister. She was gorgeous. She was tall, her head came up to his shoulder which was saying something as he was 6’10”. That would make her about 5’ 11”, only a few inches shorter than her brother Max. Yeah, Evie was the perfect height to snuggle right under his arm. Her hair was dark, almost black, and thick enough for a man to grab hold of. Her skin was warm like whiskey but as light as milk. Butterscotch, Bull thought, her skin is like butterscotch. Her eyes were a brilliant pale green with a dark emerald ring at the outside of her iris. Bull could only imagine the pure emerald glinting with lust when her pupils are blown wide. Her lips were full and plump, perfect for biting, and lit up her whole face when she smiled. Well, when her smile was genuine.

Bull was in line at the bar when he heard Evie laugh. It was throaty and free, but only lasted a moment for when he turned to look, she was once again in deep conversation with Max. Bull knew what they were talking about and was letting people go in front of him to order so that he could give them the time they needed.

Bull finally ordered their drinks, after he heard Evie squeal with glee and saw her jump out of her chair. She started bouncing up and down, her face full of excitement, and he watched her magnificent breasts bob along with her movements. If she were any more excited, they would have a high chance of spilling right out of her pink scoop neck top. Bull started to get hard. Nothing his jeans wouldn’t hide, but then Evie jumped into Max’s arms and wrapped her lithe legs around his waist. Andrastes Tits, she had an ass. Shit, and now he had to adjust himself as he imagined her legs around Bull's own waist, for a completely different reason. The drinks were ready, and he easily grabbed all three in his large hands and brought them back to the table.

“I guess that was a yes then?” Bull asked no one in particular, as Evie gracefully dropped from her brothers’ arms.

“Yes! I am so excited.” Evie was thrumming with energy. Again, bouncing on her feet, breasts bobbing nicely; her eyes glittered with delight.

Bull gave Evie her drink as they all sat back down at the table. “Awesome, so what’s the timeline do you think Max?”

“Well, my last case just closed out. Chief Ranier knows what’s going on and as much as he relies on me, he agrees that I have more to offer and that Skyhold could be the perfect fit. So, I have the next two weeks off. I was thinking we should fly out tomorrow after your luncheon. What do you think Princess?” Max said asking Evie.

“Holy shit, yes. I’m going to book our flights right now.” Evie whips out her phone to do just that and then looks up at Bull, her gaze seared into his own. “When are you going home?” She asks him with interest.

“Not until Monday. I still have some stuff to do here.”

“Oh, well we will definitely have to meet up while I’m there yeah?” Evie asks him.

“Absolutely,” Bull promises, “I’ll take you guys to some of my favorite places. There is this place that sells these nuts. They have this spice on them. They start out sweet and then right at the end, BAM, spicy.”

"Mmm, sounds amazing." Evie licked her lips and Bull almost groaned audibly.

“Hey Evie, you should have Bull escort you to the luncheon tomorrow.” Max tells her.

“Makers Arse, Mom and Dad would freak out. It would be awesome.” Evie looked at him then, eyes alight with amusement. “What do you think, want to come and show off your piercing and tattoos to freak my parents out?”

“Maybe,” Bull told her while sipping his beer. It wasn’t like he wasn’t doing anything tomorrow. Besides, he wouldn’t mind spending a little time with Evie. Not to mention her fine ass and amazing tits. “Might be fun.” He told her grinning.

“Great,” Max said, “Evie hasn’t had a date since ‘the arsehole ex’ and deserves a little fun. That guy was a downer, I mean the first time I met him he didn’t say a word to me, just grabbed Evie and left.”

Evies’ face dropped, “Stop it, Max. I know . . . but just stop it.”

Bull was immediately on alert. He didn’t know how Max missed it, but in one fell swoop Evie turned despondent and looked defeated. Max just continued like nothing was wrong.

“Come on, it was a good thing that you dropped his sorry ass. Seggrit was the worst. I know you just went out with him to please the ‘rents, but I can’t believe you stayed with him as long as you did.”

“I said to stop Max. I know he was an arse, and I left okay.” Evies’ eyes glinted with either fury or unshed tears as she downed the rest of her drink. Both, thought Bull as he looked closer.

“Hey, I’m sorry Princess.” Max grabbed his sister's hand in his, finally realizing what he had done. “You know me I have to put my foot in it at least once a day.”

“More than that.” Bull mumbled. Max put on a look of complete innocence.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.” He said in his most aristocratic and innocent voice.

Bull snorted and looked back over to Evie. She was no longer withdrawn now that the conversation was away from her ex, and she was sporting a tiny little half smile. It was better but not good enough.

“Hey,” Bull said to her, “Let’s leave this clown here and go dance, yeah?”

“Aww, how come I can’t come?” This from Max with an obviously phony pout.

“Because,” Evie retaliated, “It’s hard to dance with one foot in your mouth.”

Bull roared with laughter as the two of them got up leaving Max all alone with his whiskey. He watched Evie as she walked to the dance floor. Hips swaying slightly, pert ass with a little jiggle at every step in her slinky pants that clung to her gorgeous curves. Bull groaned internally as he followed her. He wasn’t so distracted though, that he didn’t notice that she was not in the same happy go lucky mood she was in earlier.

“Hey, everything good?” He asked her as they stepped down onto the dropped floor for dancing or shows.

“What? Oh, that. Yeah, Max just doesn’t know when to shut the fuck up sometimes. It’s not a big deal.”

Bull left it for now. He knew that there was more, and he definitely knew it was a big deal, but it didn’t matter right now. He made it a point not to meddle unless asked or needed. At this point, it was neither. They started dancing to some classic rock and they both got lost in the music for a while. There were a lot of bodies on the dance floor and they kept getting pushed closer and closer together. The bodies made it hot and sweaty, he could feel beads of it dripping down the back of his neck. Slowly, Evie got into the music. Eyes closed, head thrown back, her arms slowly went from being in the air to running down her own neck.

One hand ran down the side of her body, the other stopped at her own collarbone until the first had made its completion from the side of her breast and over her hip, then it too made the movement down. Her hips were gyrating side to side with the beat of the music and Bull didn’t think there was anything sexier than a curvy woman in carefree movement. Whether dancing or fucking. Eyes still closed, Bull felt safe watching her, his body only scant inches from her own, as those hands came back up her body, slightly raising her shirt. There was a peak of a navel ring and Bull groaned out loud this time. Nobody heard, the music was too loud. Bull was about ready to put his large hands on her waist when someone behind her beat him to the punch.

“Hey, sexy.” The stranger said close to Evie's ear. Bull watched as her eyes popped open and look over her shoulder.

“Hey yourself.” She purred back to him pushing that sweet ass into the man behind her. Mmmm, Bull was more of a hands-on kinda guy, but damn if he didn’t like to watch two sexy people grinding on the dance floor. Bull thought about moving closer and making an Evie sandwich, but before he could, he noticed the tension changing from lustful to uncomfortable. Then he saw the guy running his fingers along the top of Evies pants. Slowly the stranger let his fingers roam below the elastic of the waist. Bull could tell that Evie was uneasy, but before Bull could make a move several things happened at once.

The guy put his hands down Evies pants, then she had one of his wrists in her right hand and flipped him over from being behind her to being on the ground looking up at her with a dazed expression. Damn, Bull thought, that was fucking HOT!

“I’m sorry, did you want to maybe ask me before trying to violate me?” Evie asked the dude with an evil looking smirk on her face.

“Fuck you Bitch, you were asking for it . . .” his words cut off into a scream as Evie pressed into the hand she was still holding onto a painful hold that could snap his wrist if she kept going.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite hear you.” She said. Then Bull took the opportunity to stand closer to Evie in the assholes view.

“You might want to try an apology if you want her to give you your hand back.” He growled menacingly. He really needed to diffuse the situation.

“Fine, I’m sorry.”

Evie let him go and started to leave the dance floor with Bull. Then the asshole proved he was a stupid asshole by saying. “I should call the cops on you. You assaulted me.”

It also happened to be during a lull in the loud music and 4 people including Max stood and made their way over.

“What seems to be the problem over here?” Max asks politely, “I just happened to overhear you, my friends here and I are off duty and just hanging out, but we are always willing to help a citizen.”

The asshole smirked at Bull and Evie, and Bull thought that he couldn’t wait to wipe that smirk off his face when he finds out who he messed with. Bull watched with glee as Max and his force friends escorted Asshole off the dance floor, motioning for Bull and Evie to follow. He noticed that Max was smart enough to move to a slightly hidden area of the bar, one that wasn’t so loud from the music.

“Thank you, officer. This woman tried to break my wrist just for dancing with her.” There was the stupid self-righteous sneer on his face again.

Max briefly looked over at Evie before saying, “That’s a pretty serious accusation buddy, is that all that happened.”

Bull noticed that Evie stayed silent with a mischievous glint in her eye. She was just waiting to see what Max and his friends were playing at. Max slowly put his arm around the shoulders of Asshole.

“Well, yeah. What else could have happened?”

“Evie, would you like to tell me why you tried to break this nice young man's wrist.” Max looked at her with the same glint in his eye that Evie was sporting. Bull noticed that Asshole was too stupid to notice that Max called Evie by name.

“Well he was dancing with me, and it wasn’t a problem at first.” She told him.

“See, only dancing buddy.” Asshole said as he playfully elbowed Max in the ribs and chuckling.

“Hmm, it could have been a misunderstanding. But you said ‘at first.’” Max looked at Evie his arm slightly tightening around Assholes shoulders. Max's friends were a solid force behind Asshole, with Max next to him with a fierce grip on his shoulders, and Bull and Evie in front of him.

“Oh yes, well then he put his hand down the front of my pants and tried to . . .” Evie didn’t have the opportunity to finish. Bull could tell the moment that Asshole realized he was in trouble. It was the same moment that Max had his hand around Assholes neck and two of the other off-duty cops grabbed at his arms.

“Well,” Max's voice was still just as calm, but the glint of mischief in his eye turned into a glint of rage. “It seems that you attempted to sexually assault my sister.” Assholes eyes were bugging out and he really started to panic then and did something really, really, stupid.

“She wanted it, she was rubbing her ass all over my cock, I was only giving her what she wanted man.”

Bull could see Max struggling. He could see him wanting the satisfaction of beating this guy to a pulp right there. The other cops were just as pissed. Cops are family and by default, Evie was their little sister too. But, they were still cops; they were good cops. Bull was tempted to lay him out himself, but all he got out was a growl as the last thing Asshole saw that night was Evie's fist as she knocked him flat in one punch. Max let go of Assholes neck and allowed him to slide to the floor. It was sexy as hell.

“You want to press charges, Evie?” One of the officers asked.

“Nah, she said, I am guilty of assault at this point.”

“Don’t know about that. Looks like self-defense to me.” Said another scratching at the back of his neck.

“Well the first one yeah, the second was just because he was an arse face.”

With that, most of the tension left them all laughing. Bull was laughing along with Evie gently putting his arm around her shoulders. Subtly wanting to let her know that if she ever needed, he would have her back.

As they made their way back to the table, the group started to get overwhelmed with onlookers and well-wishers. Evie's friends hugged her and left. The other cops decided to stay just in case Asshole wanted to make any more trouble. Evie wanted to go so Bull walked out with her and Max.

“I better call this in, just to be safe.” Max said. “Text me the flight info for tomorrow Princess, and I will see you then.” Bull watched as Max pulled her aside to hug her. They talked for a bit while Max waited for his uber. Bull noticed the little nuances of their body language that told him what they were talking about. Max was upset that Evie didn’t let him handle it, Evie was a little on edge from the adrenalin and they argued slightly about Evie's ability to take care of herself. It had the look of a long-standing issue between them. Eventually, Max got in the car and Evie walked back up to him.

“Thanks, by the way.” Evie said to him.

“For?” Bull asked.

“Most guys, especially big ones, would have wanted to ‘defend my honor’ so to speak. I appreciate that you let me take care of it.”

“Hah, well you were handling it very well on your own.” Bull put his hand on her upper back and rubbed small circles. “It was hot as fuck.” He bent over and purred in her ear. Just as quickly he stood back up. “Can I drop you off at home, Evie?”

“You okay to drive?” She asked.

“Yeah, I only had three drinks and I’m a big guy.” Bull shrugged at her as he motioned to his body.

“I noticed. Yeah, I’d love a ride.” She said as they started walking toward Bulls rental.

Bull kept thinking that if this were a hookup that he could say something about riding the Bull, but the fact that this was Max little sister, and that she had to deal with that other shit tonight, he decided he would be good.

“So, this thing tomorrow?” He started.

“You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, it was really Max’s idea.” Evie blurted out.

“Oh, I wanna go! If I get to have the sexiest woman at this shindig on my arm.” He grinned at her.

“Really? Cos then you should ask my sister. She sure thinks she’s the sexiest thing in all of Thedas. Be warned, if you come she will flirt with you like crazy, especially if you’re there with me.”

 “Well, wasn’t that why you guys wanted me there, for shock and awe?” Bull asked her.

“Maybe a little,” Evie grinned unabashedly, “but honestly, you’re good company, Bull. I meant what I said earlier, I would love to get to know you better.”

Bull arrived outside her family estate, and Evie had to lean over him to punch in the code for the gate. She smelled so good. There was the smell of salt from her earlier exertions, and honeysuckle and something just Evie. As she leaned back her breasts brushed against his thighs and he inhaled loudly.

As he pulled up the long drive to the front of the house, he couldn’t help but look and see what Max had given up, so he could be himself.

“Give me your number luv.” Evie asked. They exchanged numbers and she told him where and when to meet. They talked for a bit about the restaurant it was at. A little about who was going to be there. Then she leaned over and gave him the sweetest kiss on the cheek. Bull watched Evie saunter up the walkway into the house and kept a stupid grin on his face all the way back to his hotel.

Chapter Text

Between the graduation, the alcohol, planning a visit to Skyhold, and the thing on the dancefloor . . . Evie was exhausted.

Then there was Bull. She was surprised at how he seemed to know just how to behave with her. He lured her dreams out of her with little effort, he didn’t press the conversation about Dwayne, and he didn’t treat her like a fragile flower. It seemed that once he knew she could handle herself, he let her take care of things.

Evie had never had someone treat her that way before. It was usually, me man, you little woman. Then they would pound their chest. Not literally, most men just assumed that because she was a woman she couldn’t handle herself.

One of the first things Max had done when he started at the police academy was to get her to enroll in a self-defense class. He gave her a bunch of pamphlets, went with her to check them out, and supported her choice of going to Krav Maga. It has come in handy a few times. She was attacked on campus once, and people are always surprised how often someone likes to violate her personal space when she is out at bars and clubs. The only time that she had used it to the full extent was the once with Dwayne Seggrit.

Dwayne was a minor partner in her family’s firm. They met at a company party while she was in her 3rd year at college. He was attractive enough with blonde hair always so, and pretty blue eyes, but the first time Evie met him, something just seemed a little off. His voice was deep but a little nasal. He had great eye contact, but it was so intense, Evie could never look him in the eye for as long as he seemed to want her to. She didn’t really have a desire to see him socially, but he kept asking and asking. Evie always had an excuse, but then her Mother told her to bring Seggrit as her date to the company Satanalia party. He was up for a promotion and was going alone. There was no arguing with Sharleena Trevelyan. Evie had to go with Seggrit.

The evening was actually quite enjoyable. He doted on her all evening and was such a gentleman. Evie felt like perhaps she had misjudged him and agreed to have dinner with him the following Friday. Dinner was also enjoyable, and soon with her parents encouragements Dwayne Seggrit and Evie were dating. They became lovers and eventually moved in with each other.

It wasn’t a passionate relationship, sex seemed perfunctory at best. Looking back Evie couldn’t say specifically when things started going wrong. She knew that it was before they moved in together, but it happened so slowly. He always chose where they went out, then he would choose her outfits. She thought it was romantic at first that he wanted to surprise her and he would choose what to wear for her because she didn’t know what they were doing.

Then he would guilt her every time she spent time with her friends or family without him. Once her father talked to her about how important it was to establish a solid foundation as a couple and that she shouldn’t be spending so much time without Seggrit.

After they moved in together, Dwayne became even more controlling. He told her what to eat, when to exercise, and he dressed her every day from her underwear to her clothes to how she wore her makeup. When she would complain, he would tell her how he always wanted her to look her best and that he was better at those things than she was.

Evie complained to her mother, and all she said was how important it was to keep a man happy. That she was lucky to have found such an accomplished man considering her excess weight and height. That she looked so much more refined since being with Seggrit.

Evie knew she was an awesome person. She was smart, she was funny, she was talented. But her mother knew just where to dig. Evie never had a strong self-image, and it was her weak point. Soon Dwayne was making the same jabs at her body. He got more stringent on her diet, told her to work out more, and then he insisted on taking her to classes in the morning.

Once, a classmate waved at her as she was getting out of the car, and she walked her way over to him. They had several classes together and a similar study style. When she got home that evening, Dwayne freaked out on her. He accused her of cheating, and when Evie told him he was delusional, Dwayne lifted his arm up like he was going to strike at her. His blue eyes were full of icy rage. He didn’t hit her that day. He just yelled at her that she dressed sexy on purpose. Evie yelled at him that he was the one who picked out her outfit so he demanded that she strip and then took her with no care. It hurt. It was also when Evie knew that this wasn’t right. She was going to end things the next day, but when she woke up, Dwayne had made her pancakes in bed, something he never let her eat, and brought her flowers. He apologized over and over and joked about the fact that this was their first fight. He told her so tenderly that she was his, and he was just protecting what was his.

Dwayne suggested that she cut her classes back a little, so she didn’t have to spend so much time at school. Evie knew her parents wouldn’t allow it, they had a timeline for her. Seggrit knew that there was no arguing with the Trevelyans and let it drop.

The next time, was the first time Dwayne met Max. Her parents had already cut Max off and he was never at any of the functions where he could have met him previously. It was pure chance, Max was at the same restaurant as her and Dwayne. Evie hadn’t seen Max in a while, so it was no wonder that when Max saw her standing at reception, he raced up to her and lifted her off the floor slightly to spin her around, hug her hard and kiss her on the cheek. Before she could respond to him, Dwayne grabbed her firmly by the arm, hard enough to leave bruises. He bit out that they were leaving and raced home without letting her speak.

The moment they were in the door he backhanded her across the face. She was so surprised that she couldn’t do anything except stare at him. Dwayne asked her how many other guys she was fucking, and if she just expected him to be okay with her other lovers pawing all over her in public and in front of him no less. Again Evie was so shocked that it took her a while to scream back at him, that Max was her brother you arrogant prick.

That was it, she had thought. She spun on her heel and kicked them off on the way to the bedroom, knowing it would piss Dwayne off. She didn’t care, she was leaving.

Dwayne followed her, he was so sorry. He jumped to the wrong conclusions, he started crying. Evie had never seen him like this before. Looking back now, she has no idea why she stayed. She didn’t even love him. The sex sucked. But she was in this type of headspace, and he seemed so sincere. He kept repeating how he loved her and the thought of her with anyone else just drove him crazy. He repeated how he would never hurt her. So she waited.

The last time, was her good friends impromptu birthday party a few days later. She was late getting back from school, Seggrit wasn’t home yet and she raced through the house to get ready. She changed her clothes, leaving her school outfit on the floor, and put on an LBD to go out in. She smoked up her eyes, put on a red lipstick that she hadn’t worn in forever, and called a cab to get her. Dwayne still wasn’t home when she left so she texted him to let her know where she was and with who, from the cab on the way to the dance club.

It was less than twenty minutes later that Evie felt strong hands grab her off the dance floor. She could tell by his face that Dwayne was pissed. His face was stone, his eyes were glacial with wrath. As he pulled her into the alley behind the club, she knew. Her true-self burst forward into her mind.

This was wrong. He was wrong. He was sick. She deserved better. She wouldn’t let him bully her into staying again. She was done. Evie had turned to him after he stopped pulling at her to tell him just that, so she noticed his right arm starting to move toward her.

Her Krav Maga classes fueled her instincts as first she blocked him with her left arm. Her right viciously palm punched his jaw. Her mind was clear and calm. She was serene in her center. She would not let rage or fear overtake her while defending herself. Her two palms closed the distance around Dwayne's head and brought down as her knee came up. There was a sickening crunch as his nose connected.

That sound brought her out of her self-protecting trance. She put her hands up and took a step back. Evie remembers the conversation like it was yesterday.

“I’m sorry Dwayne, but I won’t allow you to hit me again.” Evie looked at him. He was bleeding savagely from his nose. She felt no remorse. She had to care about him, didn’t she? Did she want to hurt him? No, she didn’t, she realized. Any care she had for him has washed away long ago. She just had to realize it. She woke up tonight. Evie had no idea what it was that brought her out of the self-induced self-hatred that allowed her to believe that he cared for her. But she was grateful for it.

“You bitch, you are nothing without me.” He stood up to his full height, only slightly taller than Evie herself, “It seems I have been too soft on you. I should have taught you to respect your betters long ago.” Dwayne grabbed the front of Evies dress, tearing it in his attempt to hold her.

Evie put her left foot back, grabbed his right arm with her left hand, put her right arm up, and twisted to the left to break his hold on her. She had tried to give him a chance, to admit his mistake, but no longer.

Evie had Dwayne's arms captured in her palms and sent her right elbow up into his face, damaging the already tender bone, breaking it. She deftly slid her hands into his now disheveled blonde hair grasping firmly for leverage as she kneed him in the gut twice. He slid to the ground cursing her with every breath. Holding his stomach, he looked at her.

“I own you now, you will never be able to finish law school, you won’t be able to work anywhere. I will have you arrested for felony battery. You’re done.” All his words did was infuriate Evie.

“That’s where you're wrong.” Evie ripped the sleeve off her dress exposing the fingerprint-shaped bruises she had. “You are a batterer. Let’s call the cops, my brother and his friends will come and interview the two of us. Who do you think they will believe? Then when my family knows, you will lose everything. No more senior partner, no more corner office, no more fat paycheck.” Evie thought she should feel elated taking him down completely, but she held no joy in this. Only sorrow, how did she let it go this far. Why did she allow herself to be so mistreated? Evie only felt fatigue and shame. She would never have let anyone of her acquaintance put up with what she did. Why did she? She was ashamed but determined. Evie decided then and there, that she would not let this define her, and that she would help others who were in powerless situations. Evie would fight for those unable to fight for themselves. But to do that, this situation needed to go away. Evie looked into the blue eyes wrought with fear before her. She wanted to feel pity, but all she felt was shame.

“We’re done!” She said at last, “I won’t lose you your cushy job, but you are never to speak of this to anyone. If you do I will destroy you. Don’t contact me, don’t talk to me, and if you see me you better run the other way.”

Yes, Evie remembered that moment. She felt strong and weak at the same time. She had never told anyone what really happened between her and Dwayne Seggrit. She was too embarrassed, ashamed, and pitiful that she allowed it to happen in the first place. Besides, the situation was done, it was handled, she took care of it, and telling anyone now would only hurt those she loved.

She would always be grateful to Max for insisting on self-defense. She couldn’t tell him why, could only show him in a myriad of little ways. Evie thought of the opportunity her brother was giving her. Evie already knew that Max would get the job at Skyhold. They would move there together, and she would start her own firm. Evie would be in a place where the Trevelyan name meant nothing, and she could do what she dreamed. Bull knew, he drug it out of her so she would be thinking about it when Max asked her. She would have gone with Max regardless, but Bull made sure that she saw the opportunity. Bull was too clever by half. . . and big . . . and sexy . . . and now she couldn’t stop thinking about him.

And she would get to see him tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Bull was restless, he wanted to see Evie again, that wasn’t the problem. She was Max’s kid sister and he liked her, she was funny and smart and had legs that went on for days. It was more because Bull hasn’t been with someone in a long time. He’s fucked all sorts almost daily, but that wasn’t the same and, Evie wouldn’t be that. Bull liked her. She was funny and smart, she could kick ass, and that was Hot, but she could also be vulnerable. Everything Bull could want in a woman, especially her body. Her skin was soft to the touch, but underneath, he could feel the definition of muscle. Her ass was shaped to perfection and big enough for Bull to grasp with both hands as he would lift her up to wrap her legs heavy with muscle around his waist. She would grind her hot center against his thick cock and she was tall enough that he would plunder her mouth with his own as they ground together.

Bull was growing hard imagining what could happen. So, he unzipped his jeans, took himself in hand and let his imagination go where it would.

He let her down from his arms slowly, so she could slide against his body, lips not parting, tongues dueling as he slid his hands up under her shirt. His large calloused hands skimmed lightly over her skin raising her top as he let them grasp her breasts over her lacy pink bra. Bull played with the edges where skin met fabric. Evie's nipples strained against the cloth, he could feel them grow tight at the stimulation of his talented fingers. Bull broke the mating of their mouths and deftly pulled the top over her head.

He stopped just to look at her, flushed with desire, lips full and bruised from their kisses. Pupils blown, just a ring of emerald visible now. He turned her toward the wall and placed her hands against it pressing them there, so she would know to leave them. His fingers trailed down her arms and over the soft skin of her back. He leaned forward to trail small kisses behind her neck. So light that they were almost little breaths. Bull inhaled the smell of her, honeysuckle and the smell purely Evie invaded his senses. His kisses became harder as he trailed his lips across her shoulders. He slipped one strap off, then the other. Soon his kisses became nips and he undid the clasp.

Bending lower, he laved at the red marks the garment left on her back with his tongue. He let his hands roam under the now loose cups and plucked at her nipples. Bull pulled Evie's arms down to let her bra fall off her perfect breasts and kneaded them as he bit just left of her right shoulder. Losing patience, he roughly turned her around, pushed her back against the wall and sucked as much of one breast as he could into his wet mouth. His other hand pinching and rolling the other dusky rose peak. Evie keened as her hands frantically touched every part of him they could reach. She ran them over his head and his neck, down to his shoulders and over his arms. Her touches left electricity over his skin in their wake.

He stood up so quickly that Evie stumbled forward at the loss of his body. Bull stripped his shirt off and undid his belt not even bothering to remove it completely, as he looked up to meet Evie's gaze, he stopped what he was doing. He needed her to be naked right now. The need in her glazed eyes fueled his speed as he almost tore at her pants to remove them. Now that she was naked he could look his fill as he removed his own jeans and boxer briefs. Her skin was flushed with passion as she grabbed her own breasts to flick at her peaks. Bull growled and picked her up again only to deposit her, on her feet, next to the couch.

Bull pressed on her back, bending her over the back of it. He loved this couch just for this reason, it was the perfect height for this position. Evie spread her legs to give him access, her folds glistening with her own musky wetness. She was panting for him, she wanted this badly. Bull crouched down so he could run the flat of his tongue from clit to ass. The sounds coming from Evie were wanton and delicious. Unable to wait any longer, Bull slid one of his fingers into her heat.

“More!” Evie demanded of him. Bull complied, inserting another finger, twisting them to rub on the rough patch just inside that had her writhing.

“Please,” Evie was begging, “Please more. I need it.”

At that Bull ran his thumb through her slick and started rubbing slow circles around her clit.

“Is this what you need?” Bull rumbled at her. His voice raw with his own desire. “Like this?”

“Yes,” Evie gasped, “just like that, but more. Please.”

Bull pulled out just enough to insert a third finger, pumping her with his hand and letting his thumb flick back and forth over her clit.

“Yes, Maker, Yes!” Evie cried as her sex tightened and pulsed around his fingers.

He wasted no time, using her slick from his hand to stroke himself twice. He guided himself to her dripping cunt and plunged in with one quick thrust. Bull could feel the remnant pulsing of her orgasm around his swollen cock. He withdrew slowly and snapped his hips forward roughly.

“Maker yes, more Bull please more.” Evie was writhing under him. She grabbed at the couch to center herself. “Bull fuck me, please!” So, he did.

Hips pumping, hands on her waist, Bull let go. He was a big guy, but Evie was no porcelain doll, he could give her everything he had and she loved it. Evie would be sporting bruises on her hips from Bulls hands tomorrow, but neither of them cared. All there was in this moment, was the slapping of skin against skin, the moans of pleasure from Evie and the grunts and pants of exertion from Bull. Then Bull changed his angle, hitting that spot deep inside her.

Then, “Yes, yes, yes, oh Maker, yes.” Evie was screaming now. “Bull!” She shouted as she came.

Bull didn’t last long after that, three more strokes and he growled out, “Fuck, Evie, yes.” As he spurt hotly into her.

Bull came in his hand as the scene came to completion in his head, and Andrates ass if it wasn’t the most intense orgasm he’s ever had with his hand.

“Damn,” He said out loud. It took the edge off and he knew he could handle this luncheon.

Bull got cleaned up and put a sleeveless undershirt on before his white button up. Evie wanted to shock and awe, he was fine with that. His ink would show through suitably, but he was still dressed for the restaurant. He put on some nice slate grey slacks, Bull liked these pants. A lot of his clothing was bought off the rack and tailored, especially his shirts. The companies who made big and tall seemed to assume everyone with shoulders his size were also fat. But the pants, those he had completely fitted to him. He had a few pairs of slacks and a couple nice pairs of jeans made for him. After being in fatigues for most of his early adult years, it was one of the little luxury’s he afforded himself after the P.I. company took off.

He had some great people working for him too. Technically the company was called Take Charge, but everyone called them Bull’s Chargers. Krem had wanted to name it Tactful Tail, but everyone with good sense vetoed that name. Bull snorted just thinking of it. Early on they weren’t picky about the cases they took on. It was tailing cheating spouses and taking pictures, once they followed a teenage girl to prom and acted as cockblockers. She ended up with a huge crush on Grim and ditched her date. The thought still made Bull laugh.

Now that they were more established, everyone seemed to have their specialties. Stitches took care of most of the background checks, he also had a drug dog that he took around to high schools and colleges on occasion or into rich paranoid parent’s houses. Dalish and Grim handled most of the surveillance cases, neither of them really liked to interact with a lot of people, so it worked out well. Also, Bull was pretty sure that they had no problem finding things to do to occupy their “alone” time. Krem was easy going and seemed harmless and so a lot of the times was the face of the company. Rocky was the tech expert. Wires, cameras, security, all that kind of stuff. As for Bull, he handled a lot of the civil case stuff. Information and evidence gathering for the police and lawyers and such. That’s how he knew Cullen Rutherford in Skyhold and Thom Ranier in Ostwick. Bull was the best at information gathering and it had got him a reputation and his whole company high price tags. And then there was Skinner.

Technically Skinner handled missing persons, fugitives, bail jumpers, that sort of thing. Off the clock, so to speak was a different matter. Skinner helped abuse and rape victims get back at their abusers; in a legal way too. . . ish. Skinner had a client who originally wanted her to find her stepbrother who broke probation. Turns out he repeatedly raped Maryden from the age of fourteen to sixteen. When her mother found out, she took her to the hospital and police. The mother couldn’t afford a lawyer and had to have public representation. The brother convinced the judge it was consensual, and she only claimed it wasn’t because her mother found out. Based on how long it had been going on and the fact that he was only a year older than her, the Romeo and Juliet laws went into play and the lawyers agreed on misdemeanor sexual misconduct with a fine and probation. Her mom believed the boy and kicked Maryden out of the house. Two years later this girl needed to know where he was, so she could keep him away. She was afraid of him so moved to Skyhold and wanted to make sure he didn’t follow. Turns out he did, so Skinner helped her.

All the Chargers cases were on file, and everything about Skinner's consultation with her was no different. According to the paperwork, she couldn’t afford the fee and nothing more was done about it. So, Skinner helped Maryden, eighteen and legal, get a gun and learn how to use it. Skinner ended up taunting the step-brother to break into Mary’s little apartment. He broke the lock and kicked in the door. By the time he was ten steps in the place, he had two bullets in his heart, and three in his groin. Mary called the cops like a good citizen. Cut and dry case, he broke into her apartment, tried to attack her so she protected herself within her own home. After that, Mary’s mom tried to apologize and get back in her life. Maryden said no way. Now she is singing in this cute little jazz place and doing pretty well for herself.

It’s stories like that, that make Bull agree with Evie about her pro-bono firm. If she liked Skyhold, he would help her as much as he could to get that off the ground. It was too early to talk to her about it today. Bull knew that Evie wouldn’t do anything if Max didn’t transfer, but he knew Cullen would want him, and that Max would want the transfer, but he also knew that Evie would wait until everything was sure. She was the right balance of cautious, pragmatic, and injudicious. Bull could tell a lot about her just from the one evening they spent together. He knew she would be an amazing lawyer and would be wasted in the Trevelyan Firm.

Bull drove slowly to the restaurant, he didn’t want to be there too long before Evie but, didn’t want her to wait for him either. He parked and sat on the bench outside fiddling with his phone. He was the master at observing everything without anyone paying attention to him. He should have stood out, he was just that type of guy, and he would be the center of attention if he wanted, but he could just disappear in plain sight. He seemed inconsequential and unworthy of interest and people would just walk by him without a glance. Bull always found it amazing what people would say and do when they thought no one was looking.

He used that skill now to wait and watch for Evie. He almost rolled his eyes as the classy Stretch Lincoln pulled up. The Trevelyan family was flaunting. The driver pulled outside the restaurant and parked. An obvious security guard appeared from out of the passenger side and opened the door. A shined Rivaini oxford followed by dark charcoal slacks with a glossy black pinstripe was the first to emerge, Richard Trevelyan got out of the back of the limo with the type of elegance only individuals with an abundance of experience have. Trevelyan wore a dark red silk shirt with no tie under his suit jacket. Bull noticed the color did nothing for his skin, making him look blotchy and flushed. He had the same dark hair as Evie, but his face shape was more Max, other than that, it seemed there was little family resemblance. He was starting to paunch around the middle, but the thousand-dollar suit was tailored perfectly to hide it. Bull noticed that the guards suit was not as well tailored, and he wondered to himself why Trevelyan needed an armed guard. He looked like a man who could hold his own, he was about 6’4” and had an air of authority emitting from him. He was powerful, and he knew it.

Trevelyan buttoned his jacket before reaching back to assist Sharleena Trevelyan from the back of the car. Red-soled nude pumps made their way out the car first. Sharleena was a beautiful woman. Willowy and graceful wearing a dark gold sheath with ivory lace over one shoulder and at the hem. Her blonde hair was upswept into a sleek knot at the nape of her neck. Her makeup was tasteful and understated, though it was as obvious that she had eyelash extensions of some sort, as it was that she has had surgical augmentation in her nose, lips, and breasts. She also had the still face of someone who had regular Botox treatments. When Bull saw her eyes, it was obvious where max got his good looks from. He was a male mirror image of what his mother had looked like in her youth. The Trevelyans made a surprising couple; she was the light to his dark, the petite to his strength, and the slender to his bulk. The heads of the Trevelyan family walked smoothly with the guard into the building, almost gliding, letting their children follow in their wake and the driver to assist them out of the car.  

Who must have been Roland Trevelyan was next, a mini version of his father, quite literally. He had the same unassuming, unremarkable eyes. His features just a little to close together like someone squashed the clay before it was completely dry. Roland had his mother’s height, he was maybe 5’7” tops, but he tried to look just like Richard. From how he styled his hair to his slightly lighter version of Richards suit. Roland was wearing a forest green silk shirt under his jacket instead of red, but his shoes were identical to his fathers. Wait, were those lifts in his shoes? Bull held back an audible snicker.

Hesbeth Trevelyan came after. You would never know she was a lawyer, she looked more like a high price hooker. Her heavily highlighted hair was in curls half pined up to leave some tendrils falling over her back and caressing her collarbones. Her dress was a bright red that made her tan skin gleam, there was a glimmer reflecting in the sun wherever there was exposed skin. There was a lot. The neckline would have been a modest boat except it was made of sheer lace that trailed over the entirety of the dress, the underdress was so low cut over her enhanced breasts as to be shocking without the lace over it. If the front was shocking the back was obscene. Not even lace covered her naked back. The lace started just above the shadow that led to the valley between her cheeks, the solid lining started a few inches below that. The dress ended a few inches above her knees. She wore matte black strappy heels that added about four inches to her height and made her about 6’. She had dark kohl around her eyes and bright red lips. She walked quickly after her brother so she could push past and arrive before him.

When Bull looked back at the car, his mouth went dry. The shapely legs he had pictured so vividly not hours before, were sliding off the seat and out of the car.

Evie was wearing emerald green heels that matched the bottom of her dress. As she stepped out of the car he caught the hint of purple under the skirt. Damn, he thought as he took in her appearance. Her dark hair was glossy in soft curls that spilled to midback, an ornate comb held back some of it, so it tumbled mostly on one side. Her green eyes were enhanced by a deep plum shadow and there was a glimmer of gold on her cheeks and lips. Her dress was modest compared to her sister, but it plunged enough to show the delicious shadow between her breasts. The top of her dress was a deep violet and fitted snuggly to her form all the way to her hips where it flared out and melded into the green at the bottom. As she moved toward him, Bull noticed the hint of purple he had seen earlier was a petticoat of some sort that flared the skirt out and peeked from the bottom in jagged edges. It was modern and fun and showed off not only Evie’s body to perfection, but her personality as well.

Bull couldn’t help the look of wonder that turned into a smile as she walked toward him, her own smile brightening her entire face.

“You look . . . Wow!” Was the eloquence that parted his mouth. Somehow Evie’s smile amped up a notch.

“You like it?” Evie spun for him then and he saw just a tiny peek of a tattoo on her back.

“You would look great in a burlap sack, but this . . . this is perfect for you.”

“My parents hate it.” She said giggling, “But I absolutely love it and it’s my party, so I get to wear it.”

“So, your parents hate you wearing a fun dress and your sister gets to look like an escort?” Bull asked her one eyebrow rising in question. Evie started laughing in earnest then. The sound was throaty and melodic. Evie might giggle on occasion, but her real laugh came all the way from her core. She let herself laugh in abandon. Bull thought that the certainty she had in her own skin was so sexy. He could tell that she didn’t give a shit that she was laughing hard enough that many turned to stare.

“Oh Maker, I’m gonna pee my pants.” She said wheezing.

“You mean your skirts?” Bull asked getting another rise out of her. “Better be careful. If you do, you'll have to change, and your parents win.” He just grinned at her.

“Stop it, I’m going to cry and ruin my makeup.” Evie was still laughing but now there were long pauses between bursts. Bull watched her face as she composed herself. Her mouth was begging to be kissed and Bull knew that before the afternoon was over that he was going to surrender. So much for taking the edge off before arriving.

 

Chapter Text

Evie really had needed that laugh. She was still chuckling softly between long breaths as she and Bull stood talking outside. She took the opportunity to study him.

Bull looked good, the contrast of the white shirt against his dark skin made him look darker. The pants he was wearing fit his muscular frame like they were molded to him. He was wearing some very stylish square-toed leather dress shoes. Evie could see the dark ink on his arms through the soft fabric of his shirt and fought against the urge to outline them with her fingers. Why was she fighting it? If she wanted to touch him, she could.

Evie reached out with her fingers to trace the ink. Some were all black and some had vibrant color. There was a myriad of designs and pictures over both of his arms. It all meshed well together, but there were very distinct pieces. She felt his muscles tighten under her fingertips. Evie always liked big arms.

“I like your arms.” It slipped out from her traitorous mouth. She couldn’t say something articulate like, ‘Wow your arms are huge,’ nope still wrong, maybe ‘Your ink is sweet.’ Andraste what was she, sixteen? She rolled her eyes internally at herself.

Evie was a master of words, she could talk around almost every single professor in law school. But for some reason, the sight of Bull in his slacks and white shirt turned her brain to mush.

“Good,” he responded, “I like your whole body.” He said it grinning broadly and with sincerity, but there was no way. 

He just saw her stupid perfect sister walk by. No, stop it, Evie. You look amazing today, he wouldn’t say it if he didn’t mean it. Okay, if she convinced herself he was genuine, what was she supposed to say? Where was the confident flirt that she could sometimes harness?

“Of course you do, it’s attached to me after all!” Evie gave Bull what she hoped was a scorching glance. Bull smiled bigger if that was even possible. Maker, he had a great smile.

“Ms. Trevelyan?” Lewis, security guard number two, as Evie liked to call him, stepped out from the filigreed doors of the restaurant. “Mr. and Mrs. Trevelyan are waiting for you. Please don’t let them wait much longer.” Was all he said before he looked over to size up Bull. “Is this person bothering you, Ms. Trevelyan?”

“No Lewis,” Evie sighed, “This . . . is my date.” The last was said with chin tilted up in defiance and a smile on her face.

“Very well, but your parents will not be pleased.” He responded.

“It’s my party and they can cry if they want to.” Evie sang to him. Then looking up at Bull, “Shall we go inside so my parents can make ostentatious toasts and my siblings can fight over their attention?”

“Lead the way.” Bull said as he held out his arm for her. His very big, very tattooed, very muscled arm.

Evie slid her arm through his and was disappointed to not feel skin on skin. Damn, she had it bad.

“So, that’s what the dress was for?” Bull was asking about Hesbeth, Evie was sure.

“Yeah, mom tries to play it off that she likes it and dad just ignores her unless it will affect the business. Since Beth works for the Law firm, she won’t do anything too scandalous. She actually is a pretty decent lawyer.” And she was, but she was so busy playing kiss arse with the senior partners to do anything worthwhile. Evie thought it was a shame. If her parents just told Beth how good she was, she could probably do anything. Hesbeth was starved for attention and unlike Evie, didn’t have the confidence to find her own way.

Evie knew Roland was a great lawyer, and he knew it too. The problem was that he is also an entitled bastard who would throw a tantrum when he didn’t get his way. Of all her family, Evie probably hated Roland the most. Don’t misunderstand now, her parents were both in the running for second. But where her parents were disinterested in her for the most part, they were never intentionally cruel. Roland was vicious.

When they were kids he would use the staple gun and staple all her dolls heads. Then he would staple her favorite stuffed animals to the wall higher than she could reach at the time. Once he tried to push Evie over the balcony after she caught him kissing a girl. The only reason it didn’t happen, was because the nanny walked in at just the right moment. Evie tried to convince herself that he wouldn’t have actually done it, but it was only days later that Roland tried the same thing with Max. Max punched him square in the jaw. Roland was more pissed that the brother four years younger than him could clout him like that than he was about the actual punch.  Needless to say, Max didn’t make it over the balcony either. Evie made sure to never be alone with Roland after that.

“I don’t know why she tries so hard. She really is beautiful, but she makes it seem so artificial.” Evie paused then, “She has let herself be guided by the wrong things, and for the life of me, I don’t know why. She could be so much more. But I guess that’s what they all say about Max. Don’t get me wrong, if I thought she was happy with who she is, I would be unquestionably okay with what she wanted to do. It’s just so obvious to me, anyway, that she isn’t.”

“You seem to care about your family a great deal.” Bull said. He was making an observation based on how Evie felt about her sister, but that wasn’t the whole family.

“Holy Andraste, no. I mean not really. Other than Max and to a lesser extent Beth, they can all rot. They are horrible people obsessed with money and power, and like attracts like, so most of the people working at the law firm are just as fixated.”

Evie pause for a moment looking pointedly at Bull. She felt like she could trust him. She was able to display a little of her real self out to him on first meeting, after all, and he accepted it.

“I guess that is one reason I am hoping Max gets this transfer. If I’m not careful, I will end up just like them and that would be a fate worse than death. I wouldn’t even know myself anymore. Could you imagine losing who you are just to survive?” Evie told Bull sincerely.

It was hardly anything at all and if anyone were to ask Evie what it was that gave it away, she wouldn’t be able to answer. Bull’s eyes withdrew slightly, and he held himself so still. You could have walked by him, thinking him a statue, for as much as he was moving. “Yeah, I can.” Was what he told her after recovering most of himself.

Evie knew that he was being completely candid. The only way you could answer a question like that with the amount of sincerity Bull had, was if you have lived through it.

“And how do you come back?”

“You don’t,” was his reply, “at least not completely. You can find who you were again, but a part of you changed so completely that it’s always there. Like an undertow, if you let it capture you, there is no escape.” Bull shook off his melancholy. “But, come on. This party is supposed to be about you. Let’s see how much we can shock and awe the masses.

As Evie walked forward on Bull's arm, she heard the voice of her father.

“Ah, and here she is at last, the newest member of the Trevelyan Law firm.” Evie stiffened at Bulls side, but only for the briefest of moments. You would have to have been touching her to feel it. There was the slightest show of shock on her father’s face as he turned toward her and saw Bull at her side. He recovered perfectly, and then Richard Trevelyan continued.

“I would like to propose a toast, to my youngest. To Evelyn Trevelyan. Congratulations on your graduating at the top of your class. Sharleena and I are pleased to have you join our family’s legacy.” He then raised his glass and Evie wasn’t surprised one bit by what he said next. “To the Trevelyans!” He motioned up with his glass, and half of the crowd murmured with him.

“The Trevelyans.”

At some point between walking in and her father making his speech, someone had given her, and Bull stemmed glasses with Brut. She hated Champagne unless it was in the morning with orange juice. She raised her glass anyway and drank with the rest of the throng.

“Interesting toast.” Bull commented to her.

“It’s about to get a lot more interesting.” Was the only warning she could give as Richard, Sharleena, and Roland Trevelyan came up to her.

Evie watched as her parents took in Bull. She realized now that she was kind of putting him in an outrageously awkward situation. He knew that there would be scrutiny true, but Evie didn’t think he had any idea what was about to happen.

“Evelyn, dear, please introduce us.” Her mother gestured toward Bull. She was using her polite lawyer voice. It’s the one that she uses in the courtrooms or when any of her brood is being less than she felt was deserving.

“Of course,” Evie nodded to her. “Richard Trevelyan, Sharleena Trevelyan, and Roland, this is Lawrence Hissrad.”

“Pleasure to meet you, though everyone calls me Bull.” Evie watched as he gave her father and brother solid handshakes and her mothers a small kiss on the back of her hand.

“I am sure they do, Bull.” Roland drew out Bull's name, snapping the L like it was two syllables. It’s impossible to look down your nose at someone who is over a foot taller than you, but Evie’s brother was sure trying. “And how long have you and Evelyn been ‘friends?’”

The connotation was clear, Roland was trying to imply the worst without even knowing him. Evie looked at Bull briefly before trying to answer for him, but it turns out she didn’t need too.

“That is a good question my man,” Bull started, slapping Roland on the back a little harder than necessary. Bull looked at Evie then, a playful smile tugging at his lips. “What has been sweetheart, two days now?” He winked at her, completely at ease in his skin. It was obvious to Evie, that Bull didn’t care a lick about what these people thought about him. Evie found herself wondering. Oh, she knew that sex would be great with a man like Bull, but he was so sure of himself. He had no doubt that he belonged here with the trust fund babies and the inherently wealthy. It was sexy as hell, and this could be a lot of fun.

“Has it only been two days darling? It seems like I’ve known you for a lifetime already.” Evie batted her eyelashes in his direction, so he would know how much she was enjoying the little game.

“I feel the same way about you sweets.” Cool as a cucumber he then turned toward her parents and asked them, “How do you feel about grandkids?”

Evie had never seen her family so shocked. It took them a moment to compose themselves. They unknowingly allowed the abject horror to show on their aristocratic features. Bull let Evie’s arm fall from his to put his large arm around her waist and pull her close. He snuggled into her and leaned toward her so his lips were at ear level.

“I’m having a blast.” Was what he said, but his voice sounded like sex on a stick. Her lips parted, and her heart rate increased. She started breathing a little heavy, anyone passing would have thought that Bull had whispered something licentious. His nose brushed lightly against the shell of her ear before he pulled away. If he kept that up, Evie would lose her composure before her parents regained theirs.

“Ah, Seggrit, my good man. Evelyn was just introducing us to her. . . friend.” If there was anything that would shock her out of her arousal, it was those words from her father’s mouth.

Evie looked away from Bull to see none other than Beth on Seggrit’s arm.

Now she knew that she tensed visibly as well as physically. There was no way she was going to let that happen. Beth might want to screw her way to the top at the firm, and that was her business. But how was Evie going to warn Beth off Dwayne? Beth was the kind of person that the more you dissuaded her, the more she would do what you didn’t want her. Beth wouldn’t survive Seggrit. One thing at a time though. First, she needed to see what was going on, if anything.

Evie could feel Bull's eyes on her, so as smoothly as she could she slipped into her role as the youngest Trevelyan.

“Hello Dwayne, I trust business is well?” She asked him politely. Evie had a smile just for these situations where she wasn’t happy and had to pretend. Well, she only had to pretend for a few, not for everyone. Evie knew her green eyes would look like a storm rolling over the green sea and flash with bitterness, but her smile was perfectly bright. Seggrit leaned back slightly as he saw the fierce emotion in her eyes. Good, she thought.

“Of course it is, what a silly question.” The response was from Beth, not Dwayne, as he was still trying to school his trepidation. “Now Evie, mom and dad said you were introducing your friend here.” She let go of Seggrits arm and stepped toward Bull with a shameless smile on her red lips. “Hi, I’m Hesbeth Trevelyan, the sexy sister.” She purred at him as she turned her head coquettishly and laid her hand on the arm that Evie was still holding.

“Huh,” Bull huffed out in a discerning tone. He looked between the two of us a few times, obviously comparing. For once, Evie wasn’t worried about what would be said. Bull made her feel secure and proud. Wasn’t that something. “You might be the racy sister, but Evie here is not only stunning, she doesn’t have to flaunt what she has. I look at Evie and think wow, that is a strong, confident, and gorgeous woman. And that’s even before I talk to her.”

Evie was alive with pleasure. She felt his words tremor through her whole body, it wasn’t sexual pleasure, though that was there too, it was soul filling. The best part was, she knew it was genuine. Evie looked over at her family’s faces to see disdain from her father and brother, surprise from her mother, shock from Beth, and a sneer from Dwayne.

“Well,” Beth was trying to recover, “but life is a race, wouldn’t you want to bring a sports car?” She ran her hands slowly over her waist and hips which made Evie roll her eyes.

“When you’re doing a 10-second run, you take out the flashy and fast car. But when you're looking for more than a quick one, you take the muscle car. Guts, power, and sexy in a classic way.” Evie didn’t know much about cars, but she didn’t need to know a thing about them to know that Bull was still complimenting her. “Nothing wrong with a good-looking race car, I’ve had many. But Evie here is not a quick race.”

Evie thought if she could feel any better about herself right now that she would probably glow, so she did the next best thing. She leaned toward Bull and stood on her toes to kiss him on the cheek. Bull looked over to her at the same time.

The kiss was a shock to both of them. She was expecting cheek and Bull wasn’t expecting anything. His full lips were slightly dry but soft and yielding. Time seemed to slow, and her mouth tingled where it pressed against his. It was just a touch of lips at first, but as Evie made to lower herself, Bull wrapped his arm around her and it turned into more. They were in public, so it was a relatively chaste kiss, not where she would choose to share this moment for the first time, but Evie could not regret it in the slightest.  It was only a slight moving of lips, she let herself melt into it and raised her arm to cup the back of his neck.

A clearing of someone’s throat had them easing away from each other.

“Well, that was classy.” Seggrit chimed in, a sneer still on his lips and in his voice. “I guess that’s what you get for allowing the blue-collar in.” He clapped Evie’s father on the back with that one and she couldn’t tell if he was amused by the comment or thought it trite.

“What do you do, Mr. Hissrad?” Mrs. Trevelyan asked him. She was a classy enough lady not to want things at her party to go south.

“I am a Private Investigator.” He answered her as he slid his arm from Evie’s waist to hold her hand. Evie just grinned.

“So, you’re for rent to the highest bidder then eh?” Seggrit said it like a question but meant it more like a statement. “Park outside of the sleazy motels looking for cheating wives?” Again it was a statement not a question, but Bull answered anyway completely unashamed.

“Used to, before the company got off the ground. Now, we stalk the ritzy hotels for cheating husbands.” He said nonchalantly.

“We?” Beth asked quizzically.

“My company and me. I usually specialize in information gathering for the police or lawyers. The rest of the team has their own set of skills.”

“That is certainly interesting, Mr. Hissrad, but if you will excuse us, we have others to speak with tonight.” With that Richard Trevelyan dismissed them and walked away with his wife. Ronald trailing behind them.

Evie noted there was no ‘pleasure to meet you’ or ‘I’m sure we’ll see each other again.’ Her parents were not ones to give false platitudes.

“So, if you work with a lot of lawyers, why have you never worked with us before?” Beth asked seeming, for once, more interested in the conversation than the flirting.

“Because he isn’t any good.” Seggrit spat.

“He works in Skyhold.” Evie jumped in, “Otherwise, I am sure he would be invaluable.”

“I’ve never thought of bringing in outside help to gather information? As long it is attained through legal means, it would be admissible in court.” Beth said. Evie was glad to see the intelligence showing through.

“You only need outside help if you aren’t good at being a lawyer.” Seggrit and his nasal voice scoffed.

“Actually, I work with a lot of top law offices in Skyhold as well as with the Chief of Police. You would be surprised at the things that I can find out.” Then Bull looked directly at Beth, “It’s smart to delegate. There is no shame in admitting that someone else can do a great job on one thing, so you can do the rest without having to worry about it.”

“I agree.” Evie stated, “Beth is wicked smart, though, so she already knew that.” Beth gave Evie a half smile, “By the way, Seggrit, how is your nose? It looks like it healed almost normally.”

The look he gave Evie might have frozen the Hissing Wastes. He was on thin ice and he knew it, but there was no way for him to bow out gracefully without causing a scene.

“It looks like it was a pretty bad break, what happened?” Bull asked casually as he took another sip of champagne.

“He was in a car accident a few months ago.” Beth answered for him. “After Evelyn broke up with him, he was so distraught he didn’t notice the light turning yellow.”

Bull looked at Evie with one raised brow, she just shrugged. “So now you move on with the other sister?”

Evie was just as interested in the answer to this question.

“Maker, No.” Beth giggled. “Mom made me hang out with him tonight, he didn’t have a date.”

“Oh, Beth, you remember that’s how he got his claws into me. He might just charm you.”

Beth leaned over to Evie and whispered, “Into his bed, maybe. But you were the idiot that shacked up with him.”

Evie wished that was more comforting to hear than it was.

“If you’ll excuse us.” Seggrit finally said and almost dragged Beth away. Her laugh was light and carefree. Evie prayed that it stayed that way.

She turned toward Bull to say something like, ‘We survived’ but her breath left her when she saw the look on his face.

Chapter Text

Bull was pretty sure about what part of the story was with Seggrit. Damn that guy was an asshole. One day he would have to get the whole story, but he was pretty sure Evie was what broke his nose. Andrastes Ass that was hot. She was amazing, knew how to handle her family. She was funny, and even though she said she didn’t truly like her sister, she still stood up for her. And then there was that kiss.

It was surprising and unintended on both their parts, but damn if it wasn’t sexy as hell and all he could think about now. Bull was watching Evie’s lips as they moved remembering the way they moved over his own. They were soft, and her lipstick tasted like grapefruit. He really wanted to do it again. Void, he wanted to do more than that.

Finally, they were alone. Evie turned to look at him and he knew his face was a vessel of pure lust. He remembered the feel of her pressed against him, how she moved her hand to the back of his neck, clinging to him the way he was holding onto her. He leaned over to whisper in her ear.

“How long until we’ll be missed?” He knew it was the wrong time wrong place. He knew that it could ruin things before they started. He knew that he could hurt her and that would destroy his friendship with Max. Bull knew all of this and didn’t care. He stood back up and kept his gaze on her eyes, was reading her body language. Evie’s breathing got heavier, her chest rising and falling visibly. Her lips were partially opened. She wanted this too.

“Maybe ten minutes.” Came out in a breathy caress. It was probably a good thing that was all the time they had.

Bull wanted her mouth again. He wanted to feel the velvet slick of her tongue entwined with his. He wanted to put his hands all over her body, wherever she would let him. He wanted that and so much more, but he would settle for a kiss. There was an alcove hidden behind a large potted Crystal Grace.

“Com’ere.” Bull pulled her toward the seclusion as unobtrusively as possible. She followed eagerly.

Once hidden from sight, Bull wrapped his arms around her waist and back and pulled her against his chest. He stared into her eyes, seeking the permission he knew she would give. Evie wrapped her arms around his neck and launched to his mouth.

It was a perfect collision. Their lips fit like two halves that had been missing each other. Bull slid one of his hands up to clench in her hair. Evie moaned at the contact, the vibrations felt so good against his mouth. Her lips parted slightly, and he lost no time sliding his tongue against them begging them to spread further. When they did, he explored her mouth fully. Evie answered with her own exploration.

Evie started to grind her curvy body against him and, growling, he let his hands wander to her ass and press her to his erection. It was so like his earlier fantasy that he almost couldn’t get himself to stop. But stop he did. It was like slowly turning off the faucet.

He moved his hands back to her waist, then he broke the seal between their lips. Evie’s breaths were coming in fast gasps as he left small lingering kisses all over her lips and jaw. He allowed more and more time between each touch of his lips until he finally stopped. The passion was still there, it was simmering under the surface like a full glass of water, tight with tension. Any more and it would spill over the edge. Bull looked at Evie’s passion-filled face and mussed hair and almost gave in and added that extra drop. But he had taken all the chances he wanted to, for now.

“You should probably freshen up before going back out there.” He told her.

“Yeah,” her voice was husky with desire, her eyes glazed with craving. A couple of deep breaths, some quick blinks, and Evie seemed more in control. She looked at him and smirked, “You too luv.” A few more breaths, “I’ll meet you at the bar.”

With that, she turned and went to the ladies’ room. Bull adjusted himself and a few moments later, made his way to the men’s.

The gold of her lipstick shimmered across his face and he broke into what he knew was a shit-eating grin. He cleaned up and was still wearing that grin as he made his way to the bar. He ordered an IPA for himself and a whiskey ginger for Evie. He sensed more than heard someone come up behind him. He turned enough to see Seggrit and Hesbeth out of his peripheral vision. He didn’t turn fully, content to ignore them, but he knew Seggrit saw him.

“I can’t believe your sister brought that huge ox with her. He darkens the whole event.” He said to Hesbeth loud enough to ensure that Bull heard. It was nothing he hadn’t heard before, but when people assume your stupid, they treat you like your stupid. That was one of the best ways to get information.

“Dwayne,” Hesbeth gasped at him. “That comment was hardly necessary. If you continue to show off your bigotry, people will presume a lack of intelligence.”

Bull hadn’t expected Hesbeth to stand up to Seggrit, perhaps she was stronger than Evie gave her credit for.

“Besides, it makes you sound jealous.” Hesbeth continued. “Are you, jealous?”

“Of course not. Evelyn is a waste of any worthwhile mans time.” Seggrit had to know Bull could hear everything and he was baiting him.

Bull knew the baiting game better than any. He’s baited some real giants in his time. Real estate moguls, fortune 500 company CEO’s, and more. If he wanted to bait Seggrit into being stupid, he could. But Bull did not want to allow himself to be baited.

“That, Dwayne, is my little sister you are talking about.” Hesbeth had a growl in her voice. Bull thought it was interesting.

To most, including himself, Hesbeth treated Evie like she was no better than a second thought. Perhaps she was one of those people where only herself was allowed to give her family a hard time. But the more Bull noticed and heard, the more he thought that she was trying to put a show on for her parents. He would have to continue to watch. Evie was making her way up and Bull was interested in where the conversation would end up.

“Oh, like you care. The moment she left me, you were all over me. And you had no problem trying to feel up her nigger.”

There were multiple gasps from around them and Bull knew he wasn’t the only one listening to this conversation.

“Evelyn is a cheating slut with no taste for real men or she would never have left me, and you would do well to . . . “Seggrit couldn’t finish. Evie slapped him so hard he stumbled back a few steps. It was mild, Bull knew Evie could do worse to him.

“Why you little piece of . . .” Evie backhanded him, and he fell on his ass.

Lewis, the Trevelyans guard was there in no time trying to asses the situation. Evie’s parents were not happy, and her father pulled Seggrit off the floor with disdain as Sharleen Trevelyan pulled Evie aside to admonish her.

“I’m sorry about Seggrits attitude and about what he called you.” Hesbeth came up to him as the Trevelyan’s tried to control the issue between Seggrit and Evie.

“He was trying to get a rise out of me, and I have been called that so many times by so many people that it only makes me roll my eyes. Thanks, though Hesbeth.”

“Call me Beth.” She said, and Bull thought the smile she gave him was the first genuine one he had seen from her all afternoon.

“It’s obvious you care about your sister, so why the act?” Bull asked her. Beth glanced around before replying.

“My family uses what you care about against you.” She whispered forlornly. “I want what they have too much to not give in, but I can try to protect my baby sister.” Beth looked up at him then, her eyes glistened with unshed tears. “How in the Void do you do that. I don’t know you, and I have never told that to anyone. Ever.” Her features were starting to turn to anger.

“Information gathering, remember.” Bull told her with a slight chuckle and her features smoothed back into her mask of indifference and coyness.

Beth slid her hand along his arm, watching Evie speaking hotly with their mother in a corner. She started to play with the buttons of his shirt before Bull stopped her.

“You know, if you always look and act like a fast car, you’ll only get the attention of people wanting to go fast.” Beth looked up at him with surprise. “There is a whole lot more to racing than just winning. Maybe the race is more about finding better ways to get to the end, not just faster ones.”

Bull left her with that thought and started walking toward Evie when Roland stopped him.

“You could have hit him instead of letting Evelyn do it. Now he looks like even more of a pansy” He said.

“She was the one he was insulting.” Bull shrugged.

“He was trying to insult you through her. He was supposed to bait you into hitting him, so we could throw you out.” Bull wondered at how much Roland was influencing Seggrit.

“I’m a lot bigger than him, didn’t want to break his nose again.” Was all he said.

 “It’s probably a good thing you're bigger than Seggrit.”

“Oh, why’s that?”

“He couldn’t take control of Evie. I bet you could.”

With that cryptic remark, Roland left. Now Bull was well and truly pissed off. He had years of schooling his features, so no one knew it but him, but it wouldn’t take much for it to spill over.

Evie finally made her way over to Bull as the Trevelyans announced the end of cocktail hour and invited everyone to sit for the meal. She walked toward him with intent, she was not cowed by her family. Their disdain made her stronger. Bull knew it couldn’t always have been that way or she would never have dated Dwayne Seggrit.

“Well, that was fun.” Evie said to him as she grabbed his hand and lead them to their seats. Bull watched as Beth moved the name cards around so Seggrit was between her and Roland and the card the read ‘Evelyn +1’ between herself and Evie. He didn’t think Evie noticed.

“Yeah, it really looks like you bring out the best in some people.” Bull teased her.

He pulled her chair out with practiced ease and slid her into the table. Noticing that Seggrit had already sat, so Bull did the same for Beth, earning him a surprised look.

“Well aren’t you the gentleman.” Beth purred at him. She then changed her features slightly and said, “Thank you.”

As Bull sat next to her, he nodded in understanding that she wasn’t thinking him for pulling out her chair. “Anytime.” Was all he said. Bull thought about giving her his card, but the timing was wrong.

Bull always liked helping people. If his chargers didn’t call him mother at least once a week, he was surprised. He wanted to give people what they needed. It made him feel good after the years of taking. He needed it for the balance.

Bull thought he could like Beth, and he knew that if Evie knew what he did, that she would love Beth even more and want Bull to help her too. As much as Bull wanted to tell Evie everything about her sister, he knew that she needed to find out on her own with Beth herself.

Bull listened to Evie make small talk with the people around them, she answered questions about school and allowed them to assume that she was going to be at the family firm. He answered the polite questions from people around him as well. Everyone was being on their best behavior to prevent the scandalous gossip from the earlier show.

“So, I hear you are a Private Investigator in Skyhold.” This from one of the partners sitting across from Trevelyan.

“Yes, I specialize in Information gathering for the police and law firms.” Bull told him.

“What brings you to Ostwick then? Work or pleasure.”

“Work actually, I know Chief Thom Ranier pretty well and am gathering up some information for one of his teams.” Then Bull asked, “Does your firm ever use outside help to get information?”

“No, we have people working for the firm that do that exclusively.”

“You know,” Beth interjected, “I was quite impressed by what you told me earlier, perhaps there would be a time when someone could use your services.” Bull was sure she was thinking of how easily he got her to spill her guts to him. Bull used the opportunity to his advantage.

“I don’t come this way too often, but if you ever think you could use me or my team, feel free to call.” He gave her his card and held onto it a little longer than normal to make her look at him. He told her with his eyes that he would help her if she ever needed. Beth nodded.

“Thank you, Mr. Hissrad.”

It was during dessert that the conversation came up. Trust Roland to find a way to try to ruin the return to civility.

“When are you going to move into your office, Evelyn?” He asked her. Evie smirked barely noticeable to Bull, before responding.

“Oh, I am going to take a few weeks to unwind after graduation.”

“Really dear, do you think that necessary?” Sharleena told her daughter, more than asked her.

“I do, mother. The last few months were fairly intense and since I don’t have a client list yet, I felt that I would wait for a little before the grueling work begins again.”

“You wouldn’t have a client list anyway. You will have to assist the senior lawyers before getting your own.” Roland sneered at her.

“Well, it won’t take Evelyn as long as it took you. Her grades were much higher and some of the best of the lawyers that worked with her told us she was probably the best Trevelyan to have graduated.” This was from Evie's mother and she didn’t even try to hide the shock on her face at the praise.

Bull looked around, Roland was seething, Beth was smiling softly, and Richard was frowning slightly at his wife.

“Yes, but I doubt Evelyn would move up faster than Roland did. Faster than Hesbeth, yes, but women just don’t move up as quickly.” Bull assumed that the statement was true for the Trevelyan firm, but that didn’t make it better.

“As you say, Father.” Evie rolled her eyes.

“What are you planning to do over the next few weeks then?” Beth asked.

“Perhaps travel for a bit. See some culture other than our own.”

“I spent a week in Orlais after graduation myself, were you thinking of doing the same?” Sharleena asked. “C'est une zone merveilleusement cultivée et un endroit incroyable pour faire du shopping.” (It is a wonderfully cultured area and an amazing place to shop.)

“Peut-être mère, j'aime la nourriture là-bas.“ (Perhaps mother, I do love the food there.)  In orlesian, then she switched flawlessly to antivan. “Pero también me encanta la cocina antivan.” (But I also love Antivan cuisine.) Evie was impressing everyone, including Bull. “Aut shopping in Tevinter si ad rei publicae, non mens.” That was in tevene. (Or shopping in Tivinter, if you don’t mind the politics.)

 

“Se viaggi per il mondo, non devi assolutamente mancare a Rivain. Le danze e le arti non sono accanto a nessuno.” Bull saw Mrs. Trevelyan’s jaw drop as he added to the conversation in revaini. (If you are traveling the world you shouldn’t miss Rivain either. The dancing and arts there are next to none.)

 

“Nun, du bist nicht voller Überraschungen.“ Sharleena said in Anders as she quirked at him. (Well aren’t you full of surprises.)

 

“Ich liebe Überraschungen. Ich bin viel in meiner früheren Arbeit gereist. He responded. (I love surprises. I traveled a lot in my former line of work.)

“Yes, yes very impressive, now if we could all speak in a language that everyone can understand that would be great.” Seggrit sneered. Maker that asshole was always sneering.

Mr. and Mrs. Trevelyan were looking at Bull with a questioning eye and a little respect.

The Trevelyan’s formed a line to say goodbye to their guests as everyone started to leave. Bull waited on a chair in the restaurant lobby. He was going to take Evie home, so she could change and pick up her suitcase before the rest of the family came home. She didn’t want to let them know where she was going and who she was going with.

Seggrit was leaving and paused when he saw Bull sitting there. He looked at him with malice on his face.

“You best stay away from the Trevelyan’s. Richard and Sharleen may have been a little impressed with you, but they won’t always be running the firm. That will be Roland and me!” He said with triumph.

“You guys a couple?” Bull asked.

“How dare you. That is the most preposterous thing I have ever heard.” He stammered out. Yep, Bull thought, they were fucking. Interesting.

“Well, I would say plan on seeing me again, but you already know that.” He smirked up at the weaselly man.

“Watch yourself Hissrad. I could ruin your little girlfriends chance of achieving anything at Trevelyan Law Firm.”

“I’m not too worried about that.”

“Watch me.” He said and stormed out.

It wasn’t but a moment later that Evie came out. Bull was still taken aback by how good she looked. He regretted not being able to fly to Skyhold with her tonight.

“Ready?” He asked her.

“More than. Maker let’s get out of here before anyone else comes out.”

Once they were in the car the sexual tension started to rise between them again. Evie put her hand on Bull's thigh and was drawing little circles with her fingers. Her hand started getting higher and higher on his thigh and knowing it couldn’t go anywhere, Bull stopped it.

“So, do you think he will try to hurt your sister the way he tried to hurt you?” Bull guessed. Evie stopped and pulled her hand away suddenly. She stayed silent for a moment.

“How do you figure all this stuff out?” She was angry.

“I was with Special Forces for a long time. I know how to read people and situations.” Evie stiffened. “You didn’t do anything wrong, you hid a lot of your emotion and tells. I’m just really good.” Bull rubbed the back of his neck. “Look you don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to. I’m sure you have a good reason not to talk about it. But I know something happened, and if you think it might happen to Hesbeth, then you should tell someone. It doesn’t have to be me if you don’t want, but shit Evie, I like you. I like you a lot and if this douche bag ends up causing you more hurt, it’ll be a problem for me.” He let out a long breath. “Just so you know.”

Evie relaxed beside him and looked out the window at the passing scenery. He let her think, hoping she didn’t withdraw too much. Bull thought about Beth and her reaction to the conversation they had earlier in the afternoon. He had rules, he wouldn’t get in the middle unless he was asked, or he needed to. The problem was, sometimes when he decided he was needed, it wasn’t always wanted. He always thought you give the people you care about what they needed and the ones you didn’t what they wanted. Within reason of course, but he was pretty sure he could like Beth. Not the way he liked Evie, but underneath all of the bluster and sexual nuances, Beth seemed like a good person who was trying to find herself in a messed-up family.

“I won’t let him.” Was Evie’s reply. She looked at him and was studying his profile. Bull could see it out of the corner of his eye as he concentrated on the road. “I just need to figure out how to convince her of that without driving her to his arms.”

“Somehow I don’t think that will be as hard as you think.”

“You think so?” Evie let out a breath of relief. “Thanks Bull, that’s really good to hear.”

The rest of the drive was in silence to the family estate. This time when Evie leaned over Bull to punch in the code at the gate, she lingered. She pressed her chest against his and grabbed the sides of his neck gently. The moment seemed to last hours before she leaned her face to his and kissed him gently. It was almost reverent and a far cry from the passion that was spilling over them earlier.

“You’re an amazing man Bull.” She looked into his eyes searching. He could make out little gold flecks in the softer green of her iris. The color brought out by the purple shadow she was wearing. He could see every emotion that she was feeling flit across the surface of them. Lust and passion for sure, but there was also fear and pain. Bull was sure that was Seggrit’s doing and it made him want to throttle the man even more than he already did. “I can trust you right?” She asked, her pulse quickening.

“I will never intentionally hurt you.” Was all the promise he could make. She gave a small smile to that.

“Most people would have just lied and said yes. Thank you.”

“I’m not most people, and you’re welcome.”

Bull waited in the car with his own thoughts as Evie went inside.

Chapter Text

Evie flung herself on her big cushy bed as soon as she locked her bedroom door. She didn’t have the time to linger, but as she stared at the ceiling above her, all she could think of was how Bull made her feel.

She felt sexy and beautiful in his company, but she also felt secure and a little vulnerable at the same time. It was also that she was secure in the fact that she could be vulnerable. She believed him when he said he would never intentionally hurt her. He was so big, and Evie knew it would be easy for him to physically hurt her, but he was always gentle. He was aware of his size and never used it to overpower her. But it wasn’t just physical hurt either, she would never have to worry about him trying to control her. She was secure in that. It should have scared her, how easily she became confident in him. She had known him for just over 24 hours at this point. She should not be feeling like this. She didn’t care though. For once, she was just going to ride the waves of her emotions.

Evie quickly changed into some jogging pants with sheer pink panels down the sides and a matching pink tank top. She wanted to be comfy on the plane. She brushed her hair into a quick top knot and grabbed the suitcase she had packed yesterday. She looked around her room wondering if she would ever make it back there. As she looked, she realized there was nothing there that she would miss.

She raced down the stairs and into Bulls car to leave before her family arrived. Now that the time had come, she was quivering with excitement again. Could she do it, could she open her own firm in Skyhold and make it work? She was nervous too, and unsure, and a little afraid. But she was ready for the challenge. Who knows, with Bull there even if Max didn’t decide to stay, she could still make it work. Though she knew he would stay. He had too.

“There are a lot of emotions flickering over your face right now.” Bull stated. “What’s going through that pretty head of yours?”

“So much!” Evie shook her leg quickly. She needed an outlet for her energy and sitting in a car, that was the best she could do. “I am excited to go. I want to do this, but if Max doesn’t stay, then I am not sure if I should. I know that I could do it on my own, but I wouldn’t want to abandon Max or be alone. So yeah, there are a lot of things rushing through my head right now.”

“Understandably,” Bull told her. “You’re right though, you could do it on your own.” Bull parked in the parking lot of Max’s apartment building and looked over at Evie. “And if he doesn’t stay, you wouldn’t be on your own.”

He smiled at her. It was almost a shy smile, it was sweet. Evie felt herself smiling broadly in return. She took her seatbelt off and looked toward Bull. She wanted to straddle his lap, but there was no way to do it in the car. The best she could do was to turn her back to him and slide her butt onto his legs keeping her feet on the passenger seat. She wrapped one arm around his neck and lay her head on his shoulder. She nuzzled his neck and inhaled his scent. He smelled like leather and pine, she vaguely wondered what cologne he wore as she started to lay gentle kisses along his jaw toward his ear.

Bull slid his arms around her and lay his head back to give her more room. When Evie reached his ear she gave an experimental lick on the outer shell. Bull hummed at the contact and tightened his hold on her. She tugged at the lobe with her teeth gently and he gasped so she did it again harder, letting her teeth catch on the stud there and pull.

“Evie,” he moaned her name. “The things you do to me.” Evie felt him growing hard under her. She wiggled in his lap as she let go of his ear. “Tease.” He said to her before capturing her lips with his own.

It wasn’t long before they were breathless, tongues mating in a ritual as old as the moons. They were trying to crawl into each other’s mouths and Evie wanted nothing more than to rub against him. Her core was wet and she could smell her own arousal. Her hands were rubbing over the warm skin of his head and neck. She moved them slowly down and started to undo the top buttons of his shirt as Bull ran one hand up the thigh not pressed against him. She tried to position herself across his lap . . .

HOOOOONK

One of them hit the car horn and they leaped apart startled at the sound intruding upon their moment. They both chuckled at the interference.

“I guess I should go get Max.” Bull stated a little breathless.

“Yeah, damn it.” Why did she have to book the flight so soon? “We need to be at the airport in an hour at most.” Evie slid to her own seat and Bull got out of the car.

Evie had never let herself move so fast with anyone before. She had to think. She moved to the back seat so Max could sit up front and she could get her thoughts together. Her phone alerted her to a text message and she welcomed the distraction.

Beth: Where are you?

Evie: Why?

Beth: Don’t play games. Mom and Dad are asking why you aren’t here.

Evie didn’t want to tell anyone where she was going until she was on the plane. She didn’t want them trying to stop her.

Evie: I’m with Bull.

The next message didn’t come for a while.

Beth: Do you want me to tell them that or do you have a better idea?

Wow, would Beth really cover for her? That has never happened before and she didn’t know what to think or what to say.

Evie: That depends on what they want me for??

Beth: I guess they have a graduation gift they want to give to you.

Evie: I doubt I want it anyway, It’s probably a monogrammed Antivan leather briefcase.

Evie: Just tell them that we got held up on the way back home.

Beth: Okay

Beth: But you better tell me what’s going on!!

She couldn’t understand this conversation anymore.

Evie: Why do you care?

Just then Bull returned to the car with Max in tow. He looked at her in the back seat and raised an eyebrow in question.

“I just got to catch up on my email and stuff before we leave. I figured I would let you catch Max up on your impression of our family.” She smirked at him and wondered just how much he would share. The cool thing was, he could share everything, and Evie didn’t think she would mind.

“Maker yes, you have to tell me everything.” Max started to laugh. Did Hesbeth try to drag you to a closet? Did Roland warn you away from the family? Dad probably sneered, and I bet mom started talking to you in all the languages she knows.”

“Wow, you almost got it all right.” Bull told him chuckling.

Evie was only slightly listening as Bull explained their afternoon. She was too busy reading the text messages from Beth.

Beth: I guess I deserved that.

Beth: I am sorry I flaunted myself at your man.

Beth: He seems really great.

Beth: And he seems to like you a lot.

Beth: At least that means he has good judgment.

Evie was staring at her phone in awe. She had no idea what brought this on. Was Beth trying to butter her up now that they were going to be working together? Was she trying to get in her good graces, so she could use her in some way down the road? Evie wouldn’t put it past her to do that, but this was so out of nowhere. Her reverie was broken when she realized Max was talking to her.

“Sorry, what was that?” She asked him.

“I asked if you knew that Bull spoke all those languages too?”

“I didn’t know, but I honestly wasn’t surprised. I doubt there is anything Bull could do right now to surprise me. I just expect the unexpected.” Evie looked at Bulls face in the rearview mirror and saw him looking back at her for a moment before looking back at the road. She felt herself flush and smile before looking back at Max. He was looking at her with a knowing grin. “What?”

“Oh, nothing.” He was grinning at her, and as he turned back around in his seat, Evie stuck her tongue out at him. Very mature Evie, a graduate from law school and still sticking your tongue out at your brother. She rolled her eyes at herself and Bull chuckled.

“You know, I could think of better uses for that tongue of yours.” Bull smirked and Max coughed/laughed. Evie could feel her face flush, and thought, what the Void.

“Well next time I’ll have to use my tongue when there isn’t a chance of the car horn interrupting us.”

“Really Evie.” Max groaned audibly at that. “Can you keep that shit to yourself please.”

“What, Bull didn’t fill you in on the kiss in front of our parents?”

“Andrastes arse, you kissed in front of our parents?” Max was incredulous.

“Well, it was kind of an accident.” Evie explained.

“Whatever, don’t really care. But you two better be careful neither of you gets in over your heads.” Max was looking rather sternly at Bull as he said it.

“I hear ya’ Max. No worries.” He said to Evie’s brother.

“Did you tell him you asked our parents how they felt about grandkids?”

Max burst out laughing and brought the mood to a more jovial note. They started bantering back and forth again, and Evie mostly tuned it out.

Evie: What are you up to?

Beth: What do you mean?

Evie debated what to say. You’re never this nice to me. Are you trying to get on my good side for a reason? Are you sick?

Evie: You aren’t usually interested in my personal life.

Evie: And you have never apologized to me before.

Beth: I guess your right.

Beth: After you slapped Dwayne, I thought that could change.

Was she for real? Evie had two options at this point. One, she could assume that Beth was up to something and ignore her or two, she could take her at her word, treat it like it was genuine, but keep her guard up. If there was even a chance that Beth was being genuine, she wanted to take it.

Evie: That was pretty awesome. :D

Beth: He totally deserved it.

Beth: I can’t believe he said that stuff about you.

Beth: and Bull.

Evie: He’s an arse.

Beth: The worst.

Evie: Then why were you with him.

Beth: You know how mom is.

Evie: Yeah, I do . . .

Evie: Don’t let her push you toward him too much.

Beth: I don’t know, you know what happens when you don’t listen to Sharleen Trevelyan.

Evie: Yeah. I do.

Beth: Why did you two break up anyway.

What to say? What to say? Evie would love to tell him the truth, she really would. But she wasn’t ready to attach that sort of trust to anyone just yet. Especially not Beth.

Evie: I didn’t love him.

Bath: Really?

Beth: That’s it?

Evie: What do you mean?

Beth: You think you need to love someone to be with them?

Beth: Aren’t you a lawyer, lol.

Evie: You don’t think love is important?

Beth: We don’t live in a fantasy role-playing game you know.

Evie: Duh, but I still think we can find love.

Beth: I think the best one can hope for is someone you can at least like most of the time.

Beth: And they have to be good in bed.

Evie: LOL

Beth: Was Dwayne any good?

Evie: A little personal, don’t you think?

Evie: and Void No!!!

Beth: Well that sucks.

Beth: He’s also an arsehole.

Evie: Yep!!

Beth: Sometimes he can be really sweet though.

Evie: I know . . . but he is usually just the arsehole.

“Who are you texting so intently back there?” Max asked.

“Beth.”

“No, really.”

“Really.”

“Fine, don’t tell me. Keep your secrets.” Max obviously didn’t believe her. Evie looked in the rearview mirror at Bull again. He had a soft smile on his face. For some reason, he knew. Of course, he knew. Evie wondered what exactly he did for the special forces.

“Really Max. Look.” Evie handed him her phone and watched him scroll through the messages. She watched the expressions change on his face. They probably mirrored what hers had been when she read the messages. Max turned in his seat to look at her. His eyebrows were raised in question. “I know, right?”

“Do you trust her?” He asked.

“I have no reason to, but what if she is being sincere? I don’t want to ruin the chance that maybe we could be sisters for real?”

“You are such a sap. Can you believe this Bull? Beth is the girl that has tried to steal every boyfriend away from Evie. She put hydrogen peroxide in her shampoo once. She exchanged her face lotion for self-tanner. She has tormented Evie since she grew her tits in 7th grade.” Everything Max said was true, but Evie couldn’t help but wonder. If Beth could get over her obvious jealousy, they could have an actual relationship.

“Actually,” Bull started, “I do believe it.”

Max and Evie looked toward him and waited for him to continue.

“Before Evie slapped the guy, Seggrit was saying some pretty nasty shit.”

“Oh and don’t think I don’t want to ask you about that.” Max interrupted.

“Anyway, Beth stood up for her to him. There was no one around, no one she was trying to impress, so yeah. Give her a chance.”

Max and Evie were both shocked to silence. Max handed her phone back to her.

“Huh, I don’t know what to say.”

“Well, at least you didn’t take the opportunity to put your foot in your mouth.” Evie said to Max.

“Speaking of Seggrit, you slapped him?”

“Yeah,” Evie grinned, “He deserved it.”

“What did he do.”

“Called Bull some nasty shit.” Evie said.

“And called Evie a cheater and a slut.” Bull added. Evie glared at him. “What? He did.”

“Andrastes balls.”

“I don’t think she has those, Max. Besides, it’s nothing I haven’t heard from him before.

“Maker, Evie. Why did you never tell me any of this?”

“Because what were you going to do about it. I handled it.”

“Yeah, she did. It was sexy as fuck too.” Bull added.

“I don’t know what I would do if I ever had to see that guy again, Evie. Would you bail me out?”

Evie started laughing. She knew that Max was a good cop through and through. He would never do anything that would put him in jail. He might get arrested, but he would never do anything that would actually get him charged.

“I love you, Max.”

“I love you too, princess.” He suddenly got somber. “You know, you really are my only family. I don’t think I could do this without your support.”

Evie was taken aback. Max was always so sure, so confident. She idolized him, she drew strength from him. She couldn’t handle his mood right now.

“You’re such a badass Max. Don’t make it weird. Besides, I am pretty sure it’s the other way around.”

“I really do mean it, Evie. But I am glad we can count on each other.” Then Max grinned. “At least until I find the perfect guy, then you’ll only be second best.”

Evie slapped his arm as they were pulling up to the airport drop off. Bull idled in the unloading zone and got the luggage out of the back. Should she kiss him goodbye? In front of Max? Seriously, she was ready to jump his bones earlier, so why not right?

Max and Bull did the handshake man-hug thing. Bull told Max that he would be in touch and to let him know how the meeting with Cullen went. Max grabbed Evie’s suitcase and his duffle bag and gave Evie a quick twist of his lips before turning to go into the huge glass building.

Evie turned back from watching her brother to face Bull. He was right there. Evie almost backed up a step at the suddenness. He didn’t let her. His arms were around her waist, pulling her toward him, pressing her against his body. She looked up at him as he bent his head to her. He captured her mouth with his own. Their lips were moving together of their own violation. Evie had no control. Open and close, deeper and closer. Lips were dancing together quickly with only the barest taste and tease of tongue. Her left hand was grasping the collar of his white shirt while her right was clinging to the back of his neck refusing to let him leave.

If this were a movie the camera would be circling them, sure to get their passion from all angles. But it wasn’t, and she slowly moved her hands down decreasing the pressure of their lips. Bull slowly relaxed his arms from her waist, reluctantly letting their lips part.

“Keep in touch?” Evie asked him.

“Abso-fucking-lutley!”

Evie felt his eyes on her as she walked away, and she couldn’t help but put a little more swing in her hips.

“Well, that was fun.” Max was grinning at her stupidly.

“It was probably more fun for me than for you.” Max just chuckled.

“Don’t get hurt princess, okay?”

“Not worried about me hurting him?”

“Naw, Bull can handle himself. Now let’s go check in. I hope you sprung for first class.”

“Hardy har . . . of course I did. It’s dads credit card after all.”

Chapter Text

Max stood just in the doorway watching his sister with Bull. He knew that Evie was a big girl. Knew that Bull was a good man. But he also knew there was more that had gone on with Seggrit than Evie was telling him. He wasn’t sure at first, but between what Bull had told him had happened at the luncheon, and what prompted Evie to slap him, he knew.

How would her past affect the potential relationship with Bull? How did Max feel about a potential relationship with Bull? He could go all Alpha big brother on them and threaten and pander, but that really wasn’t him. Try it, see how it goes. Maybe it’s great, maybe it’s not, and maybe he’ll have to help one or both of them to pick the pieces up. Max tried to live one day at a time and sometimes one moment at a time. That was the only way he got through a lot of the crap in his life. Between being rich, gay, then disowned, he had fought a lot of battles. He took after his mother so was always slender. In high school, he decided that he would never lose another fight. He started working out and researched how to build muscle mass.

Because of his father’s stature, it was easy for him to bulk up. He found he enjoyed it. He would never be the size of Bull, but he kept defined and looked pretty damn good if he said so himself. Though the myriad of people who came on to him all the fucking time said he didn’t have to just say so himself. Once he got into the police academy, he decided to learn how to fight. He tried a few, Judo, jujitsu, boxing, but in the end, he fell in love with mixed martial arts. It was a perfect balance between grace and brutality.

He looked over at Evie, her appearance so different from his own. He knew she was beautiful, he had enough friends tell him so. He always saw that Evie had fire in her eyes, she was tough, a fighter. He encouraged her to learn some sort of self-defense, and she does Krav Maga amazingly. But, if they were going to move to Skyhold permanently, he would teach her to shoot. It was a huge city, easily three times the size of Ostwick. The crime rates are always higher in bigger cities, that was a given, so he would rather not worry about her. She was great at unarmed combat, and in an equal fight with someone her size or even a larger and untrained, he would put money on her every time. The problem is, that there are a lot of people bigger than she is and skilled scrappers themselves. If the guy in the bar last night had any fighting skills, it might not have gone the same way.

Max felt so lucky to have her. She was genuine and caring. Her biggest strengths were also her greatest weaknesses. She wouldn’t survive as a lawyer with the rest of their family. She had very few good friends and most of those were from college and going their separate ways. He loved her so much, but he refused to smother her. She was her own person, his best friend, and biggest cheerleader. He reached down to grab her hand as they walked toward their gate.

“Love you.” She said, looking up at him with eyes so similar, yet vastly different from his own. He wouldn’t be the person he was today without her. She needs his strength right now, and he will give her all of it. But the truth is, he wouldn’t have any strength today if it weren’t for Evie.

“Love you too princess.”

“Aww, aren’t you two sweet. Barf!” someone behind them commented. “You friggin’ newlyweds or sommit?” Max turned toward the voice laughing hysterically. He could barely get in enough oxygen to breathe let alone answer her.

“Holy Maker, no!” Evie almost had tears streaming down her face. The petite woman behind them was blonde with a short wispy haircut. She had cute freckles smattered across her face and no makeup except for a small amount of kohl around her eyes.

“Wots so funny?” She scowled. Her accent was from Ferelden Max assumed. He stopped laughing long enough to tell her.

“She’s my sister.” He busts up again.

“Oh, well I guess that’s worth laughin’ about then, innit.” She smiled then and giggled at herself. Max though her smile was pretty and changed her face. “So you single then?” Max groaned, Andrastes arse, really?

“Yeah I’m single, but not looking for anything.”

“Not you stupid, her.” She said pointing at Evie. “My names Sera. You on your way to Kirkwall?” Evie laughed.

“Single yes, Kirkwall, no. That’s just our layover. We are on our way to Skyhold.”

“Yeah? Me too.” Sera said brightly. “Skyhold and single.” Max was rolling his eyes and smiling. It looks like Evie can’t get through a day without being hit on either. “You want to get together for a drink while we are there?” Sera asked his sister.

“Well, Max is meeting with some people, so I don’t know when we’d be available.” Evie responded. Max chuckled. Sometimes his sister was so clueless.

“She’s asking you out Evie, not us.” He was still chuckling.

“Yeah, wot he said.” Sera’s grin was getting bigger.

“Oh, wow. You know I’ve never really thought of that.” Evie stared at Sera appraising her.

“Never been with a girl before?” Sera asked bluntly. “Think you might be interested?”

“I don’t know, honestly.” Evie said blushing. “I couldn’t say either way.”

“Well if you’re ever interested, here is my card.”

Max wasn’t sure what to think of the exchange. He knew Evie had an open mind, but he really didn’t want her to get in over her head. Once again, he wouldn’t give his opinion unless asked. Evie was the only one who got special treatment in that. He will gift his opinion to everyone about anything. Evie was special, he trusted her and respected her. Not only that, but she asked him what he thought all the time, so he got to share at least half the time anyway.

“Cool card.” Evie pronounced. She showed Max and it was pretty spectacular. The card itself was white and rectangular like a thousand others. On the right was the front of a camera lens with amazing color reflecting from the glass. Centered on the plain white was the phrase ‘I Shoot People’ right below it, in a smaller font was ‘(in high resolution)’ it was a cool mix of professional and Sera’s personality in one. Her information was on the back.

“Yeah, I’m going to the Skyhold Academy of the Arts.”

“Wow, that’s amazing. I heard that school is tough to get into.” Evie said, making polite conversation.

“Yeah, but my portfolio is pretty impressive. I have to shoot everything. Just can’t help myself. Well, blah blah blah, what are you two going there for?” Max liked her. She was super funny and obviously didn’t give to figs about what people thought of her.

“I’m seeing about getting a transfer, and Evie is coming with me to check it out for her own purposes.”

“Well, thaz cool.” Sera added, “If you decide you might be interested, it’s a long flight.” She grinned at them and waggled her brows before prancing off toward the gate.

The flight to Kirkwall was average. Max and his sister had a couple of drinks because, well why not, and were talking about their favorite memories. Pretty soon they were getting half of first class and all the flight attendants laughing with them.

The next plane was delayed. Their one-hour layover in Kirkwall had turned into three. So, Max and Evie found themselves at a bar called The Hanged Man at the airport. There were other passengers waiting for their very delayed flight in the bar as well and a group of them were sitting together drinking and talking. Sera was there so Max didn’t feel like he really had to keep up a conversation. She did that all on her own, all he had to do was laugh once and a while. He glanced over at Evie.

“Who are you texting? Bull?” He asked her with a smirk.

“No, Beth again, can you believe it.” She showed him her phone again.

Beth: Seriously where are you?

Evie: I’m in Kirkwall.

Beth: WHAT?!?!

Evie: Yep.

Evie: Told you I was traveling.

Beth: Sure but so soon?

Beth: What’s the rush?

Beth: And Kirkwall . . .?

Evie: It’s a stop on the way to Skyhold.

Beth: Oh Maker, are you eloping with Bull?

Evie: Andrastes tits no.

Beth: What are you doing there then?

Evie: I’m with Max. He’s meeting the Chief of Police there.

As Max was reading, another message popped up.

Beth: Really? . . . Um . . .

Beth: Would you tell him hi from me?

Beth: I mean it’s okay if you don’t. I mean I haven’t seen him forever

Beth: and I was a bitch to him too you know.

Beth: Actually, don’t say anything to him. Maybe that was a bad idea.

Max always had a sarcastic remark or pun, very rarely in his life has he been utterly speechless. This was one of those times.

“Uh, Evie . . .” He showed her the messages. “What should I say? I guess, what should you say?”

“What do you want me to say?”

“I have no idea? Just tell her okay and I can think about it. I haven’t seen any of our family in almost five years.” Max had no idea what was going on with Beth. Maybe he should ask Bull if there was more to it then just Beth sticking up for Evie. Max ran his fingers through his long hair, loosening the elastic holding it way from his face. He was staring intently at his drink, and thank the maker, he looked up just in time.

The most gorgeous man he had ever seen walked into the bar. He was tall, dark, and beautiful. His hair was glossy black and undercut on both sides. It was flawlessly tousled like it started the day in a perfect coif and had fingers run through it. Max wanted it to be his fingers. His skin was a dark caramel, and he had an impeccably curled mustached. His ears were a little gauged, and he had several gold piercings up his right ear. There was a soft sheen of gold on his eyelids and his eyes were lined with kohl. Damn, he was beautiful.

“Evie . . . Evie.” Finally, he smacked her on the thigh to get her attention.

“What?” She asked him exasperated.

“Look.” Max tried to nod in the man's direction without being too obvious. He was wearing what looked like a silk grey dress shirt. The sleeves were rolled up to his elbows showing the colorful ink along his arms. He had multiple rings of varying shapes and sizes, all gold, adorning his slender fingers. His pants were leather so tight along his arse, that they looked poured on. They loosened slightly at the knees and were complimented by short boots.

“Wow.” Was all Evie said.

“Yeah.” Max was equally as eloquent.

“Are you going to go talk to him?”

“And say what? ‘Hey sexy, come here often?’ or maybe ‘How you doin’?’” He rolled his eyes as he re-fastened his hair into place.

“Why don’t you start with ‘Hello’” Evie was being a smart ass. “You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t.”

She was right, if Max didn’t talk to the perfect looking stranger, he would always wonder. He took a gulp of liquid courage and started walking toward the bar where he was standing.

“You’re telling me you have no Tevinter wine at all?” He was incredulous. “Not even a white, and that is a sacrifice I assure you.”

His voice was smooth and decadent. It was dark chocolate from Nevarra and rich red wine from Antiva. Max wanted to roll in it and let his senses bathe in it. The bartender assured the man, again, that they had nothing from Tevinter.

“Why don’t you get him a glass of Antivan Ribera del Duero.” Max looked at the man now next to him. “You’ll like it.”

“Thank you for the recommendation. You southerners seem to have lost the subtlety in your wine.”

“I assume you are from Tevinter?”

“Dorian of house Pavus, most recently from Minrathous, at your service.” He was as smooth as the silk of his shirt. It brought out the amazing grey of his eyes. Max was staring at him, he knew it, but he couldn’t be self-conscious about it. As Dorian moved his eyes were captured by different light. In some, they were grey-blue, in others grey-violet. He had a beauty mark under and to the left of his right eye.

“I’m Max, Max Trevelyan.” He reached his hand out and when Dorian grasped it, there was a spark. Okay, not literally, but wow!

“Good to meet you, Max.” Dorian looked him up and down. “Very good to meet you.” His sensual smile made Max grin.

“The pleasure is mine, but I wouldn’t mind making the pleasure yours.”

“Hah, I have just over an hour, so I may let you see to that.” Dorian removed his hand and took a sip of wine. Max was slightly surprised because he didn’t realize he was still holding it. “Oh, this is lovely. Thank you for the recommendation.” Max looked at the bartender.

“Add it to my table would you.” She nodded, smiling with knowledge.

“You don’t have to do that.” Dorian told him.

“Oh, but I want to.” Max stared at Dorian. The problem with meeting a beautiful man at an airport is that the chances of having any other opportunity were slim to none. He didn’t make it a habit to have clandestine affairs. But finding someone who hit all his buttons didn’t happen very often. One has needs, so enter the one-night stands. He may not see this man ever again, it was already established that Max thought he was gorgeous. So, the only thing that truly mattered at this point was if he was willing. Max would bet his badge that he was willing. “What do you do?”

“I am between careers at the moment, if you will. While in Minrathous I did qualitative and quantitative research.”

“What your saying is that you are way smarter than me.” Max grinned at him. One more off the list. This was interesting, and Max was a little disappointed that this wouldn’t be able to go anywhere.

“My dear Max, I am smarter than a lot of people.” Dorian patted him on the hand while taking another sip of his wine. “Don’t feel too badly.” His smile was suave and sexy and the quirk in one corner showed small smile lines at the corner of one eye. He looked like a man who laughs. Damn, damn, damn. “And what is it that you do Lorem?” (sexy)

“I am a detective. Lorem puto te sunt tibi valde.” (I think you’re very sexy yourself.) Max answered. In somewhat accented tevene.

 

“Well, my my. Aren’t you full of surprises.” Dorian finished his wine and set it down. His long fingers started to trace of Max’s own. “Quare anguli occulta invenire non possumus appellare nostro?” (Why don't we find a hidden corner to call our own?)

Max wasted no time. He stood up, drawing Dorian with him. He quickly glanced over at Evie, who was watching him intently. He met her eyes and tilted his head to let her know he was leaving. She nodded then tapped her wrist to remind him to watch the time. Damn, he had about 45 minutes before having to board. This would have to be a quickie. Why couldn’t he have met Dorian an hour ago? Or better yet, why couldn’t he meet him in Skyhold.

Dorian was smart, he was funny. He had a certain self-depreciating vanity which was an oxymoron if he ever saw one. His voice was made to enrapture the senses, he would make a killing doing naughty phone calls. And he was sinfully pretty. . . Gorgeous . . . Beautiful . . . Tempting. All of those. Void take him, he was in trouble, but the best kind. Max looked down the hallways in the airport until he found what he was looking for.

****

There was a family restroom across from the men’s and women’s. He pulled this sensual being into it behind him and locked the door. The moment he heard the click of the lock, Dorian pressed Max’s shoulders against the door itself. Max realized Dorian was a few inches taller than him. Maker, he was sexy. Looking back in a few hours Max will say this was the most erotic kiss he has ever had in his life.

Dorian slid his left arm around Max’s waist and his right hand grasped his neck. He pulled him, so their chests were touching and before Max closed his eyes, he could see the dilated pupil surrounded by rich grey. Then their lips were touching. First just a press of lips, then Dorian was feasting on his lips like a man starving. Max’s arms mirrored Dorians, he didn’t want to let him go. Then Dorian grazed his tongue softly before withdrawing it again. It was an erotic dance of lips with an occasional taste of each other’s tongue. Dorian sucked at Max’s lower lip drawing it into his mouth, then more, small licks. Max groaned and deepened the kiss. He grabbed Dorian's amazing arse and pulled it toward his groin. Dorian whimpered to feel their hardness pressed against one another.

Max was now controlling their kiss, if it could still be called that, and wanted to completely explore Dorian's mouth. They licked, kissed and nipped at each other’s lips and tongues. His hands kept pressing and moving Dorian's body to his own. Finally, he could take no more and let their mouths separate. He nibbled down the bronze skin of his neck and slowly unbuttoned his shirt. He kissed at every new inch of skin revealed and Dorian had his hands in his hair, removing the elastic that kept half of it in place.

Max wanted to venerate the body he revealed, larger than his own but not as defined. Dorian had a muscular build, but it was from body sculpting, not athleticism. Max opened the shirt fully and exposed a smooth bronze chest. He moaned in want when he discovered nipples pierced with golden bars. Dorian's hands grabbed at his hair, fisting in it, as he leaned down and pulled the piercings in his mouth to played with them. Lips and teeth on one, his fingers at the other. He flicked and rolled drawing a gasp from his lover.

“Kaffas.” Dorian's voice was breathy, “Maker, yes.” But Max stopped his worship to push the shirt over Dorian's shoulders. There was an intricate snake tattoo licking at his collarbone. The detail was astounding. Max would have loved to see how far the ink went over Dorians back, but instead, he hastily removed his t-shirt, so he could press their skin together. “Festis bei umo canavarum.”

“Hopefully only little deaths.” Max teased.

“How did I get so lucky.”

“You? Fuck the Maker, there is only one thing that could possibly make me luckier.” Max unzipped the leather pants and was starting to slide them down his legs.

“Oh, and what is that?” Dorian cooed.

Max couldn’t say what he was really thinking. Damn, he wanted more than this moment with him. He wanted to get to know his mind, not just his body. But he wanted more of that too. What would make him luckier would be if Dorian just happened to live in Skyhold or even Ostwick. He didn’t have to take that transfer. Shit, fuck damn, he was being stupid. But as he revealed the perfect long and thick member, what he said was, “That’ll do it.”

All Dorian could do was chuckle at the comment before Max licked at the tip. The laugh turned into a moan at the feeling. They were limited on time, so Max didn’t waste any of it as he took him into his mouth as far as he could. He used one hand to make up the difference as he licked and sucked at the tip. He used his other hand to undo his jeans and reveal his own hard shaft. He moved his mouth expertly over Dorian's arousal, getting faster and harder in response to Dorian's sighs.

Good blow jobs were messy, there was spit trailing down his chin and over Dorian's balls. He switched hands for a moment getting his right one slick with his own saliva. Max relaxed his throat as he slid his hand over his own erection and took the huge cock deep into his throat. The other man mewled as he swallowed around it and started to hum a moan. His own hand started working faster in tandem with the bobbing of his head around Dorian. Long fingers grasped his hair tightly, perfectly. He held his head still and started thrusting into his mouth. It was amazing and messy. Max got a taste of pre-cum and knew Dorian was close. He pumped his hardness as he sucked at Dorian. The thrusts were slowly getting deeper, and Max forced him to still as his mouth went so far down that his lips brushed the base of his shaft where it met stomach. That was enough for Dorian who let out a gasping yell as he came so deep in Max’s throat that swallowing was a quick reflex. A few more pumps of his hand and Max came on the bathroom floor.

They were both breathing heavily, Max got a paper towel slightly damp and wiped his spit off Dorian's softening cock, before tossing it onto his mess to clean later. He tucked the man back into his silk boxers and pulled up his pants. It was an intimate act, but Max wanted more. He didn’t zip them up, instead, ran his hands up his chest to toy with the piercings again. He looked at Dorian then and what he saw in his eyes made him sad.

Max could see that no one had cared for him before. He placed his hands at the back of Dorian's head and brought his mouth in for a languid kiss. He picked the silk shirt off the floor, but before he let Dorian have it, he turned him around, so he could see the rest of the snake. It wrapped from where the head was at his collarbone over his shoulder to twine itself across his back and disappeared into the waist of his pants. Max trailed small kisses over the incredibly detailed scales until he dipped his tongue just past the leather.

“Maker, this is incredible. How far does it go?” Max asked as he gave the shirt to Dorian.

“If we had more time, I would show you.” Dorian told Max as he cleaned the mess he made, adjusted himself and put his own shirt on. “Let’s just say the tail wraps around my ankle.”

Maxed watched with slight disappointment as Dorian buttoned his shirt.

“It should be illegal to cover you up.” He told him wistfully.

“Unfortunately, the opposite is true.” Dorian chuckled. “As it is, running around naked would get me arrested.”

“Well, if I got to do the arresting, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

“Oh,” Dorian smirked, “And would you then have to do a cavity search, before I was hauled off to jail?”

Max groaned. Maker damn it. There was no time. He was tempted to book a different flight so he could spend more time with the man. Then he could get Dorian to so the same. Andraste’s arse, stalker much Max, he thought.

“Trust me, I would be very thorough.”

“I bet you would. Well, I had a lovely time, but I best be off.”

****

Dorian walked out of the restroom before Max could say anything else. Wait, what? Did he do something wrong?

“Dorian, wait.” He called out rushing to catch up. Dorian paused looking back quizzically. “I have twenty minutes before boarding. I would love to introduce you to someone.

“That’s really not necessary.” He said sheepishly.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“Maker, no. I’d have thought I did something wrong, not giving you the same pleasure that you gave to me.” Max grinned at that.

“You have no idea, do you?”

“About what?”

“How much pleasure I had from being able to pleasure you.”

“Well, that’s. . .” Dorian paused, obviously not knowing what to say.

“What time is your flight?”

“It’s supposed to be leaving in about half an hour.”

“Then come on.” Max grabbed his hand. “I really want to introduce you.”

 

Chapter Text

Evie was only slightly listening to the conversation and laughter around her. She had finished her conversation with Beth. Told her to think about what she wanted to say, if anything, to Max. She also offered to give her Max’s phone number. Beth said she would think about it and told her that she really needed to call Mom. Evie would call her, just not until she was already in Skyhold.

She looked at the time, making sure that Max wouldn’t be late. There was still time, so she started texting Bull.

8:21 pm Evie: Flight from Kirkwall is still delayed. Arg.

8:23 pm Bull: Sucks

8:23 pm Evie: Yeah, the only reason I got a flight with a stop was so I could leave sooner and get there earlier.

8:23 pm Evie: So much for that plan.

8:26 pm Evie: Still there?

8:28 pm Bull: Yeah

Okay, well he must be busy. She looked up a moment before seeing Max coming back in with that gorgeous man in tow.

“Dorian Pavus, may I introduce you to the beautiful Evie Trevelyan.” Max introduced her. Evie rolled her eyes but noticed Dorian tug his hand away from Max. Max looked a little hurt, Dorian a little disappointed. Ahh, she thought.

“I’m his sister Dorian.” She reached her hand out and saw the slight relief in his eyes. “Andraste’s tits Max, that is the second time today you made someone think we were married.” She laughed, Dorian chuckled, and Max raised an eyebrow.

“What? There is no way Dorian would think I was married.” Then Max was laughing. No doubt thinking that their earlier intimacies would have dissuaded that notion. Evie knew that there were plenty of married men who dallied with men. But doubted many of them would have introduced them to their wives while holding hands.

“Actually . . . I kind of did.” Dorian said shyly. That stopped Max cold.

“Wow, you obviously think highly of me.” Max was a little hurt Evie could tell.

“It’s not that, really.” Dorian rubbed Max’s hand with his pinky, “It just wouldn’t be the first time.”

Evie and Max both looked toward Dorian, the shock clear on their faces.

“Don’t look at me like that, it wasn’t a big deal.”

“Sorry,” Evie apologized, “Who am I to judge.” She would never deem to be an expert on relationships and if married couples wanted a third, cool for them. “Anyway, I got the bill. We better get going to the gate.” She said to Max. He looked so forlorn, he must really like this Dorian guy. “What’s your gate, Dorian?”

“E6.” He responded while checking his ticket. Evie and Max both stopped walking. In the moment before Dorian realized it, Max gave Evie a look like she hadn’t seen since they were kids. He was excited and anticipated, just like it was Satinalia. “Everything all right?” He asked them, looking back over his shoulder.

Max took two steps toward him and reverently laid his hand on his cheek. Dorian was a little taken aback as Max gave him a sweet slow kiss. Dorian took a small step back and looked around. No one was paying the two of them any attention except Evie.

“Not that it wasn’t nice, but what was that for?” He was surprised at the public display of affection, but Evie wasn’t. She knew why Max did it.

“You’re going to Skyhold?” He asked softly.

“Yes, how did you know that by my gate number?”

“I thought you were supposed to be smarter than me?” Max chuckled. “That’s our gate too.”

“So, you kissed me because?” Dorian still didn’t get it. Evie was wondering now. Dorian must have been a wham, bam, thank you, ma’am, uh sir, kind of guy. Max obviously wanted to see him again and Dorian didn’t.

That sucks, Evie thought. Max doesn’t meet guys that he wants for more than sex very often. Because of that, he wasn’t likely to let this one leave without a fight. Max had no problem putting it all out there to get what he wanted. He wanted to be a cop, he did it and got disowned. He wanted to be a detective, he fought tooth and nail to get it. If he wanted Dorian, he would try his hardest.

“Because we are going to the same place which means we can see each other again.” He stated simply.

“Is that something you would want?” Dorian seemed so surprised. Evie was desperately trying to read his face, but right now he was quite good at schooling it. Bull could have figured it out she thought. And as if her thoughts summoned him, her phone pinged.

“Maker yes, how could you doubt it?” Max said slightly exasperated.

“Well, you know. Fun and games in a bathroom is usually all people really want from me. More than that can create trouble.” That made Evie pissed. She could tell Max was upset as well, not at Dorian though. On his behalf.

“I like trouble.” He said, and Dorians face softened. “And I. Like. You.” Max gave him tiny kisses in between each word.

“Well, then.” Dorian smiled. It was shy but genuine and it made Evie happy to see it. They arrived at their gate and Dorian slid his hand into Max’s as they sat.

“You must hang out with shit people Dorian if that’s how they treat you.” Evie was still mad. Sometimes she hated people. She looked at her phone as she sat to see the text.

8:35 pm Bull: Did you want something?

Really . . . did she want something? I mean she knew he was there for work, but Andraste’s flaming arse, she just left him with a freaking hot kiss less than six hours ago. She still answered. There was no way she couldn’t.

8:37 pm Evie: Nope, finally boarding.

“Not necessarily. I happen to have a few good friends. One just happens to be straight and the other a woman.” Dorian started explaining and Evie put thoughts of Bull out of her mind for now.

“Well then, where do you go to meet people to date?” She asked him. Max was interested as well.

“I don’t. Not really.”

“What do you mean, you could certainly have anyone you put your mind too?” This from Max.

“Perhaps,” again that sweet shy smile from Dorian, “it’s just not that easy in Tevinter.” Ahh, that made perfect sense, thought Evie. Tevinter was quite backward when it came to things like race and sexual orientation. Truly they still lived in the Dragon Age.

“Intelligo omnino. Non mirum est quod cogitavi super viam fecistis Max. Vos scitis quod factum est in eodem modo et Ferelden Orlais.” (I understand completely. It is no wonder that you thought the way you did about Max. You know that it is not the same way in Ferelden or Orlais.)

“Now, you have a much better accent than your brother.” He looked at Max then, “No offense.”

“None taken, I don’t actually speak much Tevene.”

“Max only learned the naughty phrases before dropping out of the class.” Evie giggled as she told Dorian. He laughed.

“Why am I not surprised? Do you speak any other languages, Max?” Evie noticed that Dorian very smoothly avoided their earlier topic of conversation. That was okay, she was sure she would get to the bottom of it eventually.

“Our mother forced all of the kids to learn orlesian. I only took tevene because Evie did.”

“Don’t let him fool you, he speaks it passably if he has too. So, if you want to have a secret discussion without him knowing, tevene won’t work.” She told Dorian with a snigger.

“No tevene and no orlesian. Do you speak other languages, Evie?”

“Hah, Evie here speaks all but the obscure dialects from Par Vollen and the indigenous tribes from the Dales.” Max answered for her.

“Remarkable.” Evie blushed slightly at Dorian's exclamation. “Oh, she blushes. I will have to try for that more often.” He chuckled.

The plane was boarding, and Evie and Max boarded with Dorian rather than earlier with first class, so they could finish the conversation.

“What about you, hmm. What languages do you speak?” Max asked him.

“Alas, I only speak four. Common, of course, tevene, orlesian, and rivaini.”

“Perfect. Non pensare di aver dimenticato l'inizio di questa conversazione. Voglio davvero parlartene di nuovo.” (Don’t think I forgot the beginning of this conversation. I really do want to talk to you about it again.)

“Penserei meno a te se non la mia cara signora.” (I would think less of you if you didn’t my dear lady.) Dorian bowed slightly to her.

“Now, in case you get lost while leaving the airplane, you best give me your number luv.” Evie told him.

“Alas, that I cannot do. I have the unfortunate disability of having left my phone in Minrathous and will have to procure a new one once in Skyhold.” Evie’s lawyer sense was tingling, and she wasn’t sure what it was. She looked over to her brother and could tell he felt the same thing.

“I see.” Was all he said to Dorian.

“However, I would be loathed to part from either of you just yet, so if you will, here is my Facetome info.” He wrote the info on the back of his plane ticket since he didn’t need it anymore and gave it to Max. “And, I promise to wait for you at the gate.” He gave Max a quick kiss. “I want to.” He gave Evie a soft kiss on the cheek and said. “Mi piace davvero tuo fratello.” (I really like your brother.)

Dorian sat in his seat as Evie and Max made their way to their own. They were both quiet and contemplative as they put the luggage in the overhead.

“What was that about do you think.” Max asked her.

“I’m not sure, but I’ll bet it has something to do with why he is here now, so far from home.” Max only nodded.

“His luggage and clothes are expensive, yet he is in coach. He probably spent more on his shirt than we did on our flights combined. What do you make of that?”

“I’m not sure, you are being very observant though.” Evie looked over at Max. “Did you notice that with your cop eyes or your man eyes.” Evie waggled her eyebrows at him.

“Ha, both probably.” He chuckled.

“What did he say to you at the end?”

“If he wanted you to know, he wouldn’t have said it in rivaini. But I can tell you why I think he said it.”

“Oh? Don’t leave me hanging then.”

“He said it, so I would know that he wasn’t running away. That is my Lawyer instinct and not my sister one. But I’ve been wrong before. We shall see when we land, won’t we?”

That being said, Max nodded and put his earbuds in. His playlist was as eclectic as he was. There was rap and jazz, country and classical, but also rock and R&B. Evie was thinking about a little nap but looked at her phone first. Nothing new from Bull just one from Beth asking her to tell her when she landed. She responded simply and swiped over to the earlier conversation with Bull.

He was either working, tired, busy, or not interested in anything more than they had. Could that really be it? She thought back to there interactions. He seemed to genuinely like her, he was attracted to her, but that didn’t mean he wanted to start a relationship with her. She was at a new place in her life and didn’t necessarily want to start something with someone either. Yeah, she wanted to have a good time and date. She liked Bull. The more Evie thought about it, the more she realized that she was being petty. He went to Ostwick for work. He was working.

Feeling better about the whole situation, she fell asleep.

The plane landed, and they exited the plane first. Evie let Beth know the plane had landed as they waited at the gate for Dorian. Sera also walked by and winked at her. She held her fingers up to her ear in the universal sign of ‘call me’ and pranced off.

“Well then, all the needless worrying for nothing. Here I thought I was going to be waiting for you.” Dorian said smiling but tired as he made his way toward them.

“So, I vote we find a bar before checking into the hotel.” Evie said.

“Sounds like a plan to me.” Max said, “Dorian?”

“I am supposed to have the friend of a friend pick me up. I told him I would call when I landed.”

“Did he know the flight was delayed?” Max asked.

“Yes, I called him from the airport in Kirkwall.”

“Perfect, call him and tell him you found a ride. Then come with us.” Max was pleading without begging. Dorian looked at him.

Evie couldn’t tell everything that was going through his head, but he was apprehensive about something. She could tell he wanted to spend time with them, well Max for sure, but there was something holding him back.

“Let’s go get our luggage first, then we can figure out the rest.” They all agreed, and Evie tried to get Dorian to open up.

“Well Maker, I can’t believe I haven’t asked you yet. What is bringing you to Skyhold?” She asked.

“Ah, an excellent question. I am moving here for the foreseeable future.” Dorian couldn’t have missed Max’s smile.

“That’s great. We are looking at moving here too.” He said.

“Really, well, small world. Now you said you were a detective, yes?” at Max’s nod he continued. “Are you transferring here from Kirkwall?”

“No from Ostwick. Technically I am just meeting the chief of police to see if he feels like I would be a good fit for the team, but I have a feeling it’s a done deal.” Max looked over to Evie at that. He didn’t explain it to her that way, but Evie was totally okay with it.

“What about you Evie, what do you do?”

“I am a Lawyer. I just graduated and passed the Barr. It was intense.”

“Are you looking for a place to work in Skyhold then?”

“Sort of, I want to start my own firm.” Max looked shocked and Dorian was impressed.

“That is a hard thing to do without any existing clients. How are you going to proceed?”

“For the type of firm I want to open up, it should be simple. But enough of that. Why are you moving here? You said you had a friend here, is that why?”

“Yes, his father was a mentor of mine while in school. That’s how we met actually. Felix is an amazing person. Very driven, but he had to do a lot of his classes online from home. He has health issues you see, so I went to their abode to help him with his coursework and to study. Eventually, I rented a room at their home.” Dorian sounded wistful. “He would sneak me treats from the kitchen when I was working late on my dissertation, ‘Don’t get in trouble on my account,’ I would say. He always responded, ‘I like trouble.’ He is a good man and a good friend, and straight as an arrow, unfortunately.” Max was grinning at him now.

“That’s why you smiled so big when I said it.”

“Yes, though your context was much more . . . well more.” Max laughed, and didn’t ask questions.

“So, what will you be doing here then?” Evie asked as their luggage was loading on to the conveyor.

“I’m not sure. I haven’t given it much consideration. I will have to see what is obtainable for someone of my aptitudes.”

“So, you came halfway down the world, to a city you don’t know, with one friend living in it, and you didn’t even look to see if there was a job for you?” Evie asked as Max grabbed their suitcases off the belt with ease.

“When you put it like that it does seem rather senseless doesn’t it. Let’s just say there were extenuating circumstances.” Dorian saw his own suitcase and grabbed for it. “Well I have come to the decision that I would adore a drink, shall we look up a suitable establishment to go to?” He asked.

“Is that your only suitcase?” Evie asked, Dorian just nodded. “I thought you said you were moving here. Is the rest of your stuff coming later?”

“Uh, no. Let’s just say I left in a hurry.”

“Okay, I’ll get us a cab, Evie you look up a place close by that has Tevinter Reds eh?” Max grinned at Dorian as he said it, but Evie saw something else in his eyes. Max was wearing his detective's face. He was trying to add up everything Dorian has told them. She didn’t blame him, she also felt something was going on.

Evie pulled up her phone to find a place and found something close by. She walked with Dorian to the cab stand and saw Max waving at them. They all got in Evie in the front, the boys in the back, and she gave the cabbie the address.

Evie was good at using deductive reasoning. She wasn’t as good as finding out information as Bull or even Max, but with the information she did have, she wanted to figure Dorian out. He and Max were talking so she kept busy in her own mind. She sorted the things she knew about Dorian.

One – He didn’t bring much with him, even though he was moving, which meant that it was a quick decision and/or wherever he was packing from was where he needed to get away from quickly.

Two – He left his phone there. No one does that by accident and is nonchalant about getting a new one. That means, he didn’t want people tracking him via the phone. If it was just that number that would be an easy change, so it was more than that.

Three – He had fewer funds than he was used to. He had expensive clothes and wanted expensive wine but booked a flight that cost less than his belt. He was hesitant about going out with them and Evie would bet it was because of his funds. He was also proud enough not to take handouts.

Four – Didn’t have a job yet, so whatever drove him away was big. He didn’t care and needed to leave.

Five – He was gay or Bi, Evie wasn’t sure which, and that was a big deal. She knew Tevinter was bad, but that still screamed issue with family like non-other to her.

Evie tried to put a scenario together in her head.

Option One: Had a lover/spouse and they were abusive. So, this was an escape. The only problem with that is that Dorian wouldn’t have kept his own name. He would have had to be an excellent actor or a complete sociopath if that was the case.

Option Two: Family was the issue. She and Max had enough of that for her to see the symptoms. So, Dorian is escaping family who won’t let him go but won’t accept his sexual orientation. Evie was betting gay, because if Bi, it would be easier for Dorian to make a ‘normal’ hetero relationship work.

Option Three: A combination of both.

If Evie was a betting person, she would bet on two, but acknowledged that three was also a possibility.

She knew it wasn’t often that she connected with people so quickly, but in the last few days, it has happened twice. She connected with Bull, and also with Dorian. Even if Max were not attracted to the man, she would have been compelled by him. He had an aura of confidence that was perforated with self-doubt. But that self-doubt was planted by another.

Perhaps it is easy for like to recognize like. She had the same seeds of doubt in her. A month ago, she would have said that Seggrit planted them there, but now she knew. She allowed him to sew the seeds. She was the one who allowed them to take root. If there was a minuscule chance of her helping Dorian harvest then separate the good from the bad sprouts, she would. So, she took a risk as they got out of the cab and went into the bar.

“Hey, Dorian?” She started, “Can I ask you a question?”

“You just did darling, and the answer is yes, you may ask as many as your heart can hold.”

“You may just regret saying that.” Max teased him. Evie silently agreed.

“Was it your father or your mother or both?”

Chapter Text

Dorian didn’t know what to make of the circumstances he found himself in. He met two astonishing people and one wanted him. Not just for a quick bathroom grope, Maker, Dorian didn’t even have the opportunity to touch Max more than a little. The man, who was sex personified, had found his pleasure while giving it. Of course, Dorian had read about fantasy relationships like that. Books were his haven. Not just for research but for his delectation as well. He could escape the dreadful existence that his family had made his life and delve into a world where men could love each other and be accepted by their loved ones. He read about places where parents doted on their children and gave them everything they could. He studied about finding love in odd places and that it would conquer all. He knew these to be essentially fiction, but one can’t help but romanticize in turn and hope. Yearn, that maybe one day, if one plays their cards just right, they could find that too. Then today happened.

Today he met a fucking exquisite man. A man who wanted to pleasure him. Dorian took it. He was sure that was all it would be. He was prepared to walk away; he attempted to walk away. He thought that he would never be more surprised when Max followed him out and insisted they walk together. But he was surprised many more times.

First, he introduced him to his wife, or so Dorian thought. Did Max expect a ménage et trois? It immediately put him on the defensive, but then Evie introduced herself as his sister and made it so amusing, that Dorian had admitted his thoughts. The next surprise was Max’s unpretentious shock that Dorian had thought anything untoward was going on.

It had happened before, Rilienus was his dream man. They had to keep their relationship surreptitious. In Tevinter, you cannot have an exclusive relationship with a man. It wasn’t done and wasn’t accepted. And Rilienus believed in Dorians version of a better future for Tevinter. They were together for six months before Dorian uncovered that he was married with two children.

He wanted to ask him if he was going to keep Dorian on the side forever. He was afraid of the answer, knew that he would have said yes. It would have shattered more of him. He spent months in a drunken stupor trying to recover himself after that.

Then there was the surprising public display of affection that Max so easily fell into. Both with his sister and with Dorian. It was shocking and uncomfortable. Dorian had never received much physical affection in private let alone where others could see. He wasn’t an idiot, he saw others exchange hugs and small kisses. Once he was in the Free Marches, he even saw a couple entwined in a vigorous embrace. But it was still odd to him.

He remembered when he was younger his mother, Aquinea, would often hug and cuddle him. She rocked him to sleep and kissed his skinned knees better. Dorian always thought that his mother’s kisses were magic because they always made him feel better. She would tickle and play with him when his father was at work. It stopped though when he got older.

He was nine when father came home early once, and he was sitting on mother’s lap drawing while she read. He was furious with her.

“You’ll spoil that boy and ruin him.” Halward never had to raise his voice. It was full of such vitriol that he didn’t need to. Dorian remembered his mother putting him down and looking at his father.

“Of course.” Was all she said as she walked away trembling. At the age of nine, he didn’t understand. As he gained in knowledge and experience, he knew she feared him. Any affection Dorian had from his mother after that was in her eyes only. He learned from his mother how to don a mask.

The next surprise was the ability that these two people had to unmask him. He found himself so comfortable in their presence that he revealed more of himself than he thought he would ever do. Many times, after he said things that he thought he would never admit, he wondered what possessed him to do it. When he found out that Evie Trevelyan was a lawyer he had a little more sagacity.

That was her business. She would get people to say things they wouldn’t normally articulate. The way she did it though, was so comfortable, one wouldn’t know they were being coerced. She will do really well interrogating on the witness stand. The way she interacted with her brother was also a surprise. Dorian didn’t have siblings, so he didn’t know how a typical relationship went, but he felt that their relationship was singular. She reminded him of Felix in some ways and Mae in others.

Maker, he needed to get a phone. He wanted to stay in communication with them both. When Max grew tired of him, he could see himself still being friends with Evie. They were going out for a drink that Dorian really shouldn’t indulge in. His funds were low, and he already sold some of his jewelry, including the multi-diamond studded ring that he was given upon earning his master’s degree, just to escape and live before he got a flight down here to be near Felix.

Ah, Felix. His kidney disease was progressing slower now that Alexius had discovered a treatment still in the testing stages to put him on, but the prognosis was still fatal. Alexius had everyone who was willing, test to be a donor to no avail. Alexius would have given his own kidney, but had already bestowed one to his wife, and had none left for his son. Dorian knew that he would have given his only one for Felix, but no doctor would do it. He was privately worried what Alexius would be willing to do if a donor wasn’t found in the next few months.

While Dorian had his thoughts occupied with Felix, he swore he misheard the question from Evie.

“Was it your father or your mother or both?” She asked him.

He didn’t know what to say and knew that the silence was uncomfortable. He felt unnerved himself as he felt Max’s intense gaze upon him. So, he deflected.

“I don’t know what you mean.” He said with his classic smirk. He blanked his face as he learned to do and hoped she wouldn’t be able to read into it.

“Yes, you do.” Evie said to him, then comes the next surprise of the day. Instead of pushing her advantage she gave him an out. “I know you don’t know me, and I wouldn’t want to share personal and hurtful things with a stranger either. Especially in a cab where you have no idea who else may be listening in,” Dorian hadn’t even considered the driver. The fact that Evie had, just made her that much better a person. “but I know now. And I want you to be able to share with someone, it is important. You don’t have to share with me, but you need to share with someone.”


“Tu praeclara sunt homini, Evie Trevelyan.” (You are a remarkable person, Evie Trevelyan.) Dorian watched Evie face forward again and Max glared at the driver as he stared at them. Could he tell her? Surprisingly enough the answer was yes, however, Dorian was also as sure that he didn’t want to share with Max. “Gratias tibi.” (Thank you.) For now, he would remain silent. 

They drove in comfortable silence, which was a testament to the confidence this familial duo had with each other. Neither of them felt the need to fill the silence. Dorian remained deep in thought while they drove. Evie’s question brought up memories he would rather forget. He didn’t blame her, those thoughts were always just under the surface, swimming in the subconscious of his mind. The excitement, then the hurt and betrayal. It was a never-ending cycle, that Dorian desperately needed to end.

Excitement: Winning a fight against a notorious bully in grade school. He also happened to be the son of the Archon.

Hurt and Betrayal: Father mortified. Dorian was transferred to a very strict school.

Result: Dorian worked harder than he ever had to prove himself to Halward.

Excitement: Graduation from said exclusive, strict private school. With Honors. At sixteen years old.

Hurt and Betrayal: Father catching his celebratory kiss with a boy. Having said boy’s family ruined. Halward sending Dorian to a conversion camp.

Result: Dorian got better at pretending and hiding.

Excitement: Rilienus and Dorian establish a relationship.

Hurt and Betrayal: Dorian finds out he was being played the whole time. Rilienus was married with children. 

Result: Dorian spends three months in a drunken stupor in a house of ill repute.

Excitement: Gereon Alexius prevents Dorian from wasting his life and Dorian finishes his Masters and meets his dearest friend.

Hurt and Betrayal: The Maker took Livia Alexius from Gereon in a car accident and Felix was diagnosed with the same kidney disease she had.

Result: Dorian fought with Alexius and left. He found himself once again in a life of debauchery.

Excitement: Dorian is Happy-ish living in a brothel of all places.

Hurt and Betrayal: His father finds him and locks him away for months.

Result: Felix and Maevaris rescue him.

Excitement: Free from his fathers clutches and safe with Felix once again.

Hurt and Betrayal: Dorian’s father kidnaps him from his bed. He tries Electric Shock Therapy on him for weeks in an attempt to change his sexual preference.

Result: Mae comes to the rescue again. Alone this time because the Alexius family moved to Skyhold where the best nephrologists in Thedas are. Dorian flees the country with her help.

Excitement: Enter Max Trevelyan.

Hurt and Betrayal: It’s bound to happen.

Result: Dorian is doomed to be forever alone. He thought.

“Yay, we’re here!” Evie is excited.

Dorian looks at Max, who is unaware of the melancholy thoughts going through his head. Max smiles at him. It is a little hesitant, as if he is unsure of its welcome. Dorian smiles back at him and runs his fingers lightly over his hand. As a result, Max’s smile grows bolder and reaches his eyes.

Perhaps the cycle could break. If such a gentle touch brings Max that much pleasure.

“Come on boys, let’s go.” Evie interrupts the buoyancy of his thoughts.

They leave the back of the taxi and as they walk into the bar, Max holds Dorian's hand. To his surprise, Dorian lets him.

Chapter Text

Max was surprised at the want he developed so quickly for the gorgeous man next to him. His charming vanity that he wore like armor, his intelligence, his laugh; it all lay next to the confusing hurt that Dorian had in his eyes when he was deep in thought. Max wanted to know everything about him. He also wanted to bed him. Badly.

Max stopped walking and Dorian kept going, a gentle tug of his hand before he looked at him. His lips formed a quizzical smile and he tilted his head in question. They were standing just outside the bar. He wanted to kiss him so desperately he could taste it. His mind was filled with the memory of Dorian’s heady smell. The wine that was on his tongue as it had explored his own. Max grasped his hand harder and looked around as he drew him to the side where there were no windows. He looked at the taller man, the desire, he knew, was radiating from his eyes. He pulled at Dorian so their bodies faced each other, almost touching. He let his hand run up his arm, trailing over ink and muscle under the softness of the grey shirt, and caress his face. Gently, with a question, waiting for consent, he brought his face toward him to give in to his desire.

It started softly, a stroke of lips, little nibbles. Max’s lips were begging entry on behalf of his tongue. Dorian moaned with approval as he allowed it. The softness dissipated like morning fog on a hot sunny day. They were suddenly all lips and tongue and teeth, fighting for dominance. The lust that was fed earlier came back with full force. Dorian grabbed Max’s hair tightly and drew his head back, so he could plunder his mouth. The vicious want in that kiss was searing Max from the inside. In an effort to ground himself he grabbed the two globes of his arse to bring their bodies closer. He wanted to climb inside Dorian, to be as close as he could. He wanted to feel all of him, wanted Dorian inside him.

As Dorian controlled the . . . (could it still be called a kiss?) Max grabbed his waist, his shoulders, his neck. Anywhere his hands could go. He let his hands do the begging for him, pressing their bodies close together. He moaned into the kiss and his hips thrust forward of their own violation. They kissed for hours, days, moments. It didn’t matter. Soon they were rutting against each other. Pressing together, fueled by desire and need. Dorian ran his hands under Max’s shirt, feeling all the ridges flexing with restraint.

Better sense peaked into his head as Max was one second away of taking it off. They were in a very public, very open space. They were lucky that they hadn’t been caught already. Slowly Max disentangled himself from the man before him. He looked to Dorian's face and was met by lust-addled eyes and swollen lips. The thought crossed his mind that he had to look equally debauched.

“Wow!” he exclaimed, “that was . . . wow!” One drink, thought Max, then I am getting this man to a bed.

“Makers balls.” Dorian was panting, “I never thought I would meet someone so close to being as glorious as I am. But here you are. I do hope you are going to invite me back to your hotel?”

Max moaned at the question and wondered what Evie had booked for them. Andraste knows he wasn’t picky, but he hoped to the Maker that Evie booked them separate rooms.

“Fuck yes.” Max tried to control his reactions and breathed deeply to calm down. “For now, we should go find Evie.”

“Of course, lest she think I absconded with her favorite sibling.” Dorian jested.

 

Evie was already sitting at a table and smirked at the two of them, fully knowing what they had been involved in mere moments before. The two men sat at the round table close enough to touch each other but not so close to being obvious.

“You guys were occupied so I ordered already.” She smirked at them. “Enjoy yourselves?” One eyebrow raised and eyes glinting with glee.

Like she summoned the waitress, drinks were suddenly in front of them. She ordered two bottles of Tevinter red for the table and Dorian poured.

“I ordered a bunch of appetizers.” She announced.

“Why did you do that Evie? I really just want to get checked in.” Max’s thoughts of a quick drink were over.

“Because we haven’t eaten all evening.” Her tone of voice added the ‘duh’ that she didn’t.

Max was almost painfully aroused and now, relief was delayed. He was about to complain when he heard Dorian's stomach growl.

“I guess that means I’m grateful.” Dorian’s laugh was like spiced honey and gave Max goosebumps. “It really isn’t necessary though darling.”

“Hey, it’s my pleasure.” Max could see Dorian struggling with accepting Evie buying food and drinks for him. “It really isn’t a hardship for me luv. When I can give, I will. When you can give, I’ll accept.” Evie clasped his hand on top of the table. Max saw his look softening toward her.

“It’s rather quite early in our relationship my dear, but I do think that we will be magnificent friends.”

“I should hope so.” Evie responded. “I’m awesome, and you’re amazing. So, our friendship is inevitable.”

“Well, as I agree with your astute observation of my greatness, I acquiesce to your delineation of our foreseeable friendship.”

“Well as happy as I am that you two will be great friends, I for one would love to start getting to know you better.” If Max was going to be stuck here long enough to eat, he was going to get as much out of it as possible.

“Of course, puella, I am an open book. I will tell you anything you want to know, unless I don’t want to.” (sweetheart) Dorian took a sip of his wine, and Max stared openly as the tip of his tongue flicked over his full lips.

“So why did you leave Tevinter?” Wow, Max can’t believe he asked that question first. He didn’t know much but he knew that was probably sensitive. ‘hah, don’t answer that. Obviously, it was because I wasn’t in Tevinter.” Evie and Dorian both laughed so he felt that was a success.

It wasn’t that Max didn’t want to know, he did, desperately. Sometimes he let his mouth run ahead of his brain and this was one of those times. Of course, sometimes he let his cock run ahead of his brain too. He was pretty sure this wasn’t one of those times.

“Tell us about your friend. What made him come down here?”

“Ah, well Felix is quite brilliant. Even more so than I am. I know, impossible to believe. Unfortunately, it’s true.” Dorian's lips took on a sad smile. “Unfortunately, kidney disease doesn’t care how intelligent you are. It can affect the richest, the smartest, and the best of humanity without a qualm.” Dorian paused to collect himself and drink some wine. “Without a donor, there is a rather unfortunate prognosis.”

The atmosphere dropped in temperature as surely as the winter and Max was sorry he asked. He did want to know, but maker damn it, he would love for some funny story from Dorian's past or something at this point.

“Well, thank you for effectively killing the jovial mood Max.” Evie snickered at them both in an effort to turn the tone around.

“Come on Evie, we have already established that I need to put my foot in it at least once a day.”

“Well, if my memory serves, I have no doubt you could fit your whole foot in it.” Dorian quipped.

Max paused for a moment, and before he completely digested the statement, Evie started laughing uproariously.

“Oh, Maker . . . I can’t breathe.” She was laughing with silence. Not having enough air to make a sound. She took a deep breath and was finally able to release her mirth. Max couldn’t help it, he started snickering with her. Dorian joined in as well and Max didn’t know if he was laughing with them or at them, and he didn’t care.

The food arrived and as they filled their mouths, all three of them were effectively stopped from any further outbursts. As they ate, they talked in comfort for a while, Max and Evie sharing the same good memories of growing up that they had reminisced about on the plane.

He wouldn’t let it show on his face, but Max was saddened that they had such a limited amount of happy stories of their family that they had to share the same ones twice in one day. Based on Evie's question in the cab, he was pretty sure Dorian was the same way.

“Shit!” Evie exclaimed suddenly. “Shit, shit, fuck, balls, arse.”

“I can’t help but think something is the matter darling.” Dorian deadpanned, and Max sniggered. “Anything I can help with?”

“No, I was just supposed to call my mother and Beth is freaking out that she is going to go to the police and accuse Bull of kidnapping.” Evie was reading her phone. “Fuck. Be right back.”

Max watched Evie leave the table to handle their mother and softly shook his head. She was such a pill. As much as he missed family connections, getting kicked out of the family was one of the best things that could have happened to him.

“Thank the Maker that I don’t have to deal with that!” Max told Dorian.

“Oh, why is that? Is it because Evie is the baby?”

“Actually no. It’s because most of my family pretends that I don’t exist.” He was casual about it. It has been so long now that he was over the hurt.

“Oh.”

“It’s not a big deal. It happened years ago, and Evie never cared that I followed my dreams instead of the family’s. So, she has always been around if I needed.” Max took a large drink of his wine before continuing. “Besides, I would hate having that pressure on me like Evie has.”

“What were your dreams and what were your parents?” Dorian asked quietly.

“They wanted me to go to law school like everyone else. I wanted to be a cop.”

“That’s it?” Dorian was incredulous.

“I know right. I mean, they didn’t love that I was gay either, but they thought I could gain a different type of elite clientele, so they didn’t make too much of a fuss as long I wasn’t a slut.” Max shrugged, “but I have never had the desire to become a lawyer. They didn’t get angry or yell or anything like that. I just got home after my first day of the academy, and all my shit was packed in boxes in the lobby. They had a security guy waiting there to escort me off the premises. Can you believe that?” Max was chuckling at his parents’ antics.

“Honestly, that’s preferable to some things.”

“True, they even left me access to my trust fund. Evie doesn’t know this, but I drained half of it and put it in a separate account for a rainy day or something amazing. I let someone invest it for me and haven’t touched it since. Left the rest in there. I don’t want or need my family’s money.”

“Why not tell Evie?” Dorian asked curiously.

“Because I plan on it being for her future children.” Max looked over at the sex god next to him before adding. “And perhaps my own.”

“That makes sense. Money isn’t everything, but it can be useful.” Dorian said wryly. “You want children?” He smirked at Max,

“If I meet the right guy.” Max started tracing random patterns on the back of Dorian's hand and smirked right back. “You?”

“Only if I can cosset them mercilessly.” He chuckled.

“Not me. I will not let my kids be spoiled brats.”

“Ah, but I mean spoiling them with love and affection. Having all of the material things you want, can ruin you if you let it.”

“But what if I want you? Aren’t you a material thing?”

“Of course not. I am a scion of perfect breeding and influence. I am quite beyond description, but I most definitely am not a material thing.”

“You are of course, correct.” Max told him. “You are way beyond anything of my expectations. And I want you.”

“Well then, by all means, I’ll give in.” Dorian let his hand trail up Max’s leg under the table. They were almost done with the second bottle of wine and Max was more than ready to leave.

“Where is my sister?” Max let out with desperation as Dorian's hand moved to cup him.

“Dealing with a stupid woman.” Evie plopped down in her chair. “Let’s get out of here. I could really use a bubble bath or something.”

Max only half watched as Evie got the check and paid. Dorian's fingers were distracting him thoroughly.

Evie gave the cabbie the name of the hotel they were staying at and filled them all in on the details of her call.

“That woman shouldn’t be allowed in the general public. Actually no, that would be fine. But whoever thought that she could ever be a parent had to have been addled in the head. I swear to the Maker that she just wanted to extend her legacy.” Evie was on a rant. “Either that or she is so strong willed that birth control just doesn’t work on her. I mean four kids and she can’t say I’m proud of you, or go for it.”

“I used to think that it was dad who ran things, but I learned that she just lets it look that way and is really the one in control.” Max added to the conversation. “I don’t even think the almighty Richard Trevelyan realizes it. What did she say that got you all ranty?”

“After I told her where I was, she accused Bull of kidnapping me. Then I explained that he was still in Ostwick and had nothing to do with it. So you would think, end of the issue right. So she had the audacity to say that she was going to use her influence with the Viscount so that he was never welcome again for being such an undue influence on me.”

“That’s stupid, Bull had nothing to do with it.”

“Who is Bull?” Dorian asked.

“He is a friend of mine who lives here in Skyhold.” Max told him. “Occasionally he goes other places for work. Thant’s how I met him in Ostwick.”

“Why would your mother blame him then?”

“He and Evie got quite close and he went with her to her graduation celebration. Apparently, it was quite the scandal.”

“Ah, so therein comes the accusations. Andraste’s arse, you seem to deal with as much shit as I did.” Dorian said, revealing more about himself than he probably wanted to. “So what happened next?”

“I made the mistake of telling her that I was with Max. That started a whole new argument that you don’t want to know.” Evie sighed heavily. “I am pretty sure I should draw out all of my funds as soon as I can and find a new bank. Technically the money is mine since I graduated and everything, but they have so much Maker damned influence that I could see there being a problem.”

“What did you tell her?” asked Max.

“I told her that I was just visiting with you for a few days and then I was going to Orlais to shop.” She looked at her brother. “I know, I totally lied, but I didn’t think she would respond the way she did. I needed to buy myself time.”

“You don’t need their money, Evie.” Max told her. “You are talented and can make it on your own you know.”

“I do know that Max.” She seemed so forlorn, “But I do need the money so I can pursue my dream. Well, my second one anyway.” Evie went on to tell the two men about what she wanted to do with her law firm in Skyhold.

“Maker preserve me, if that is your second dream, I can’t even fathom what your first would have been?”

“She wanted to be a doctor. The parents said no.” Max supplied.

“Oh yes, fade forbid that she becomes a successful doctor instead of a successful lawyer.” Dorian added dryly while rolling his eyes.

“I had no idea that was what you wanted to do princess.” Max admitted.

They had pulled up to the hotel and the conversation was forgotten while Evie checked them in. One room, but Evie assured them that it wouldn’t be a problem.

“It’s just that there is so much wrong in this world that can’t be stopped when the evil doers have money and the innocents don’t.” Evie told them.

“You are absolutely correct darling. I know at least one person who is in that situation.” Dorian told her. “Abuse victims who can’t do anything to those who have money.”

“That is the only reason I will ever pander to my parents. I have money, but they could take it away from me if they had a reason. So I need to hide it so I can use it to bring on talented people who still have their values. So I bought myself time until I can make it work.”

They went into their room on the eighteenth floor of the hotel. Evie did good, Max thought to himself. It was a two room, two bath suite with a kitchenette and a large living room and an office. Shit, there was even a baby grand in it.

“I hope you didn’t waste too much of your money on this.” He asked her.

“Naw, it’s still on ‘Daddy’s’ credit card. Until mother suspects, they will keep letting me use it.” Evie seemed contemplative for a moment. “Shall we go shopping tomorrow?” Then she giggled. “Dorian, luv, you need more than you brought with you. We should stick it to the man and hit the best shops around. They will never know what I am spending it on. Just where and mother fully expects me to get myself some work clothes.”

“Well, I have always been about sticking it to men, but actually sticking it to ‘the’ man . . . I’m in”

Evie yawned.

“It has been a crazy day, and I am so ready for sleep.” Evie said. “You can have the room on the left. I will see you both late morning tomorrow.”

As Evie left to go to her room, Max looked over at Dorian. There was fatigue in his eyes as there would be after a heavy conversation, but there was also desire and want.

He stepped closer to him and cupped his face with his hand and lay gentle kisses on his jaw and neck.

“I know you’re tired,” he said to Dorian, “so we can just sleep if you want. I like to cuddle.” Max realized that he would like to cuddle with this man. He had been with others for sex, but he would love to hold Dorian and let him hold him. He nibbled along where the grey shirt met his neck and Dorian hummed in delight.

“Don’t you dare.” He said. “If that’s all you want, fine, but I fully expect to be suitably ravished before going shopping with your sister tomorrow.”

Max groaned. All he wanted was to let this man take him or take him fully himself.

So, he did.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Dorian listened carefully as the Trevelyan’s talked about their family. It seems that He wasn’t the only one who had issues. Theirs’s weren’t as dramatic as his own, but there were similarities there. Once again, he thought that he could be good friends with Evie, and Max, well he was something else. He offered to sleep without sex. Cuddling. Dorian didn’t quite know how to process that. He wanted that, yes, but right now he wanted more.

After he responded Max was all hands and lips. He groaned and tore at his own shirt pulling it off, leaving it where it lie. Dorian ran his hands along the tight muscle of his chest and stomach. He ran his fingers along the ink on his pecs and let his hands trail down to his low hanging jeans. He wouldn’t let this time go quickly. He planned on savoring every inch of this man’s body. He was amazing, more than his body, it was his soul. He would let his heart guide him tonight and ignore the trepidations of his mind.

He could do this. He could live one moment at a time. Risk everything in the hope of more, rather than protecting himself in the expectation of less. Time to let go.

Max was undoing the buttons of his shirt and he was fumbling at the buttons of his jeans. Max guided him backward toward the other bedroom. Dorian's shirt ended up on the floor of the living room before they made it there. If his reactions were any indication, Max loved the piercings of his nipples. He played with them with his mouth, with his teeth, with his fingers. Dorian loved nipple play, he never would have had it done otherwise. Each pull, each tease, made him moan softly. With Max’s tongue on his nipples and his hands on his chest, he was lost in sensation. Maker, this man.

This time, Dorian would not allow himself to only receive. He wanted to pleasure him, he wanted to taste him, to take him, to be taken. He had never felt like this before. It was always okay to seek pleasure between two men, but that was it. In Tevinter anyway. He recalled words spoken earlier, that things weren’t the same here, and he dared to hope for more.

Dorian turned them around so he could lay Max on the bed. He wanted to be loving not frantic. They had time. This was no quick grope in the bathroom or a hall closet. They had a bed and could use it all night and tomorrow if they wanted. He planned to make this last as long as he could.

Dorian fisted Max’s golden hair and kissed down his neck. Once he got to his shoulder he nibbled and sucked into his skin. He wanted to mark this man. He belonged to him for as long as he would allow it. Anyone who saw his marks would know that Max belonged to him. At least for right now.

Dorian tuned out the eager moans and sighs coming from Max. He would use everything he knew, every way he could bring pleasure to him, if it meant the possibility of doing it again. Tongue, nails, and teeth covered his chest, his stomach, his arms.

He found his mouth riming the band where his now unbuttoned jeans sat on his hips. Dorian pulled them down gently and inhaled the scent of him. He smelled of sex and lust, the remnants of their earlier exploits and teasing. His scent was heady and raw. It was masculine and full of pheromones that called to Dorian better than any thousand-dollar cologne.

Off came the pants and Dorian looked into the wide green eyes as he tortuously pulled down the boxer briefs to expose his member. He hadn’t had the opportunity to look at it earlier and as he did, he gasped.

“Maker.” He groaned.

“No . . . Max.” he chuckled. Humor during sex? That was new.

“You are exquisite.” Max was long, not too thick, and there was a curve that Dorian knew would be able to hit his spot just right. He was meant to take a man.

Dorian's cock twitched at the thought of being taken, but all he wanted to do right now was lick at the bead of moisture that was collecting at his tip. Small tentative licks soon transformed into his mouth falling eagerly over his head. Max’s groans were loud and uninhibited and Dorian thought how much he treasured an audible lover. No secret trysts here.

“Dorian.” Max exhaled. It was as if neither of them had had release earlier. They were both desperate for each other. The breathy sounds coming from him undid Dorian and he took Max into his throat in one quick swallow.

“Maker, fuck . . .” was followed by slightly incoherent babble. Dorian loved to give head. It was potent, he loved to make a man fall apart calling his name. He was in control. Bobbing up and down over the erect shaft, listening to explicit moans and reveling in his power.

But Max, it would seem, was not one to be outdone. He pulled Dorian off his shaft and kissed him with abandon.

“Not yet, I want this to last.” He said as he plundered his mouth fully. His lips and tongue explored Dorian's mouth for a while before Max abruptly pulled back.

“I don’t . . . I mean.” Max was a little embarrassed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m not prepared, and I’ve never had someone without. You know.”

Dorian was too far gone to do anything but moan.

“I haven’t either. But I would. With you, if you want to.”

“Maker, yes. What did I do to deserve you?” He quickly got up to get something from his suitcase. Dorian watched the naked man walk away, admiring the shape of his buttocks. He moaned at the thought of one day being able to take him there. 

Max returned with some hand cream. Obviously, neither of them had thought there would be an encounter to justify lube and condoms, but that would work.

Dorian was laid out on the bed; the earlier frantic passion had dissipated. It was still there bubbling beneath the surface, but for right now, Max was being slow and gentle. He started with a slow kiss. It was full of heat and promise, all lip with only a slight graze of tongue. Dorian never thought he would ever experience such an emotional kiss. It held ardor and possession, but there was an overall tone of caring. He closed his eyes before the moisture in them could gather. This was more than lust. Dorian held Max in his arms as he pushed the fear for tomorrow out of his mind and deepened the kiss with his fervor.

Max broke the hold of his kiss and slowly trailed downward. As much as he loved to play with his piercings, he barely showed them any attention on the way to his goal. Dorian stared him in the eye as he kissed and licked lower and lower. The feeling of his warm mouth caressing his lower abdomen drew a gasp from his mouth. It turned to a hiss as his hot breath teased over his length, provocatively, then started his explorative lips down Dorian's thigh. He spread them, and Dorian felt the hot breath over his opening for only a moment before inhaling sharply at the feel of his wet tongue tantalizing him there. He had never had anyone do something so debauched and decadent to him. For all of his experience, Dorian had never done it to another either. It felt so good. Undescribable pleasure rolled through his body at the sensation.

Max shoved at his legs to open him up to his mouth. He was licking and probing like he would starve without the flavor of him. With almost the last of his coherent thought, Dorian handed him a pillow to prop himself up, so he had easier access.

“Ungh . . . Andrastes balls, Max. That’s amazing. You feel so good.” Dorian's hands were once again balled in his honey hair.

“Maker, you taste so good.” He groaned at Max’s reply.

Dorian felt Max fumble for a moment before moving his mouth up to gently caress Dorian's cock. Then he panted in earnest as his slick finger started to tease his entrance. The pressure he felt when Max finally entered him was a welcome mix of pleasure with burn. It was gentle and tentative, until he worked it into him faster. His mouth moving over his erection in tandem.

Dorian was moaning with abandon now and Max must have seen it as his cue to up the ante. Two slick covered fingers were now breaching him. Probing and scissoring to stretch him in preparation for Max. It had been a long time since Dorian had been with a man, and he had never had such a considerate lover. Max was losing the timing between his mouth and his fingers as his own arousal overcame him.

Three fingers were now pumping, thrusting, stretching. His hot mouth was sucking at his head, his tongue delving into his slit. Dorian was so close. He didn’t want to, not yet. He pulled at Max’s hair.

“Max,” he groaned, “Feels too good. . . I can’t . . .”

Max slowly raised his head off Dorian and stilled his fingers. As he opened his eyes he was met with the intensity of green staring back at him. Green met grey as fingers were slowly retracted from the slick warmth enveloping them.

Dorian watched as Max put more lotion on his hand before stroking himself. Eyes were glued to one another as he moved his body upwards and held himself at his opening. He retracted his earlier thought that Max wasn’t too wide when the feel of his head pushed inside him.

“Maker, you’re so tight.” Max panted.

“It’s been a while.”

“Me too. Damn it, tell me you're ready for me. Tell me I can take you. You feel so good, I can feel your heat.” Max was babbling in his pleasure, but still asking for permission. “I want you. Maker Dorian, I need you so badly.”

All Dorian could get out was, “Yes!” and in one thrust of his hips, Max was fully inside him.

Dorian was all sensation; his skin was electric. He lost his voice into a melody of sensual sobs and sighs. His body was palpitating and pulsing with pleasure, tingling tightly with torment. He was high on the hard hammering of his lover. The two of them together were throbbing, thumping, thudding. There was no end of one or beginning of the other. At this moment they were one.

It was glorious. Almost more than Dorian could handle. He looked into the green eyes above him and would have been afraid of what he saw in those eyes, but he was lost in the moment. There was more than lust in them. There was affection, pride, caring, and ferocity. All it took was a slight caress of Max’s hand on Dorian's hardness and he was lost.

Strands of white pearl pulsed over his chest, and still Max thrust into him, staring into his face with adoration until his own body stuttered, slowed, then stopped.

It was several minutes before he could say anything. Dorians blinking was slow and purposeful. He was drunk on Max.

 

 

Chapter Text

Evie woke up full of vigor. Possibly because it was 11 in the morning and she slept great, but it was more than that; she was excited to start her new adventure. She already knew that she was moving here. She pulled a robe on over her naked body and drew the curtains back to see the Skyhold skyline. It was full of skyscrapers and promises. The air was heavy with ambition and new tomorrows. She, Evelyn Trevelyan was going to go out on her own. She was going to follow her dream, and she owed it all to Max and Bull.

Ah, Bull. She didn’t know what to think about him right now. But, she decided, she had today to wander Skyhold and explore her new surroundings. She would talk to Bull tomorrow to find out when his flight came in. For today, perhaps she and Max could meet Dorian's friend. They should find the police station where max would meet the chief and maybe go on a tour of every station in the city to get familiar with it. Or they could play sight-seeing. After all, all three of them were new to the city.

Evie walked out of her room to go to the kitchenette and make coffee. She paused only for a moment when she saw the clothes strewn over the floor. She smiled to herself and shook her head grinning. If it worked out with Max and Dorian, she would be so happy. She liked Dorian a lot. He gave the impression that he was a strong person, but that something had recently broken him. Even if her brother didn’t start something with him, she was going to help him with whatever it was.

“Is that coffee I smell?” Came an aristocratic voice from the living area. “Damn, if we didn’t leave a mess. I’m sorry Evie.”

“It’s fine.” Evie told Dorian sincerely, “You were having a good time, and that is way more important than keeping a place that has maid service clean.” She smirked at him.

“Why yes. Yes, I was.” He grinned back at her. He paused for a moment before turning serious and asking her, “You don’t mind, do you?”

Evie burst out laughing. “it’s a little late to ask me that, don’t you think.” Besides, I think it’s wonderful.” She walked toward him then and put her arms around his also robed body to hug his waist. “I think you're magnificent.” She lay her head against his chest, “And I think that Max and you are crazy lucky to have found each other.”

Dorian wrapped his arms around Evie and lay his cheek on her head. “Tu praeclara Evie homo. Ego autem in Inveni etiam felix.” (You are a remarkable person Evie. I am also lucky for having found you.)

“I leave you two alone for five minutes and now you’re canoodling?” Max called out indignantly. Evie knew he was joking and turned to him.

“That’s right! If you don’t treat Dorian the way he deserves I may just steal him from you.”

“I hope you’re not serious darling.” Dorian chuckled, “Because there is no way you could treat me better than Max.”

“That’s right.” Max grinned.

“Yes, but only because Evie lacks the proper parts.”

They were teasing, and it made Evie so happy to see.

“So, what’s on the agenda today? What do you two want to do other than shopping with ‘Daddy’s Credit Card?’ Max isn’t meeting with the chief until tomorrow.” She asked the boys.

“Well, I for one need to check in with Felix. You will adore him, and I can’t wait for him to meet the both of you.”

“I would like to map out the route to my meeting tomorrow, maybe check out some stuff in the area around the precinct.”

“Sounds perfect. Let’s get ready and find a diner by the precinct, then we can go meet Felix if that timing works? Shopping can come after. He can even come with if he is up to it.” Evie asked of Dorian.

“Let me call Felix and tell him the plan. I think that will be fine. He tends to feel better after his dialysis, so it should be acceptable.”

“Great, have some coffee if you want, I’m going to get ready.” Evie started walking toward her room when she paused and looked back at the two men. “We are so lucky. I know it sounds trite, but I feel like it was providential that our flight was delayed.” She paused and looked at Dorian, “Whether you are religious or not, I feel like it was preordained that we meet.”

With that in the air, Evie finished her trek to her room to get ready. She wasn’t super religious. Of course, she believed in the Maker, but there were so many offshoots of the biggest religion of Thedas, that she could pick which she felt the closest too. Her parent raised her in a very orthodox version of the chantry, but when she got older, she found a sect that was perfect for her.

Most orthodox believers thought that the maker would ignore his second children until his word was accepted across Thedas. But she found the Chantry of the Nightingale, which taught that he loved us enough to allow us to make our own mistakes. The Maker wanted us to live life and become the best version of ourselves. Evie had always thought the Maker was more of a father figure. His children could be sinners and would love them anyway. Andraste tried to show us the way, but she was still just a prophet. A human. She made mistakes like the rest of us. So, who defines sin? It should be the Maker, but as he was silent and accepting, Man defined their own version. Depending on which sect of the chantry you belonged to, that defined sin.

So, Evie took it upon herself to define it. It is easy to know what is good and what isn’t as demarcated by the average person. If what you did affected others negatively, it was bad, if it didn’t affect others at all or affected them in a positive way, it wasn’t. In her mind bad was sinful and anything that wasn’t bad was either neutral or good. She thought the Maker wanted his children to be happy and the only people on Thedas that could define happiness was the ones living on it.

Heavy thoughts to be having while getting ready to go out for the day, but her mind was on Dorian and what he must have gone through. She knew in Tevinter that Dorians sexual predilection was considered sinful. She knew that was stupid. The loving Maker she knew didn’t make mistakes. So, he would never wire someone to prefer men if it was wrong.

It was just different. And different scared some people. If one can’t understand something, one tends to give it a negative connotation. She thought of Max. He was gay, and never acted like he was different, or anything less than he was. He grew up in a society that was a lot more accepting of his dissimilarity than Tevinter was.

What Dorian must have gone through. Evie still wanted to talk to him. She wanted to help him. The whole reason she accepted being a lawyer instead of a doctor was because there are different ways to help people. She respected his privacy but wanted to help with a desperation that was anomalous. It was part of her. Who she was. He was treated like shit, and she wanted to help him get some of his own. To do that, she needed to know his story. But, she refused to be the person to force it out of him. He would wither confide in her or he wouldn’t.

If he wouldn’t talk to her, or even if he did, she wanted to find a counselor for him. It sounds stupid if you put it in words, but when you feel it, you just know it’s the right thing to do. He is such a good person, and if he is so amazing now, despite what his past holds, then she knew he will be even more spectacular and confident if he could progress past his pain.

She continued to think of ways to help this amazing person while she showered. Even if her brother wasn’t obviously besotted, she would want to help. She formulated a strategy of what she could do for him.

Evie put on some comfy and well-loved jeans that were slightly worn due to love and not because she bought them that way. She paired them with a bright red silk tank, which made her eyes more prominent. She loved makeup and gave herself a soft brown smoky eye with some glitter in the inner corner, just for fun. Red lips that matched her top completed her look along with winged liquid eyeliner and black mascara.

She emerged from her room to find the living area empty. She went to Max’s door to see what the hold up was, but before she knocked, she heard the reason for the delay. It should have made her frustrated that the two men would make them run a little late, but she couldn’t find it in her to care. They were still exploring their relationship and that was great. Max deserved to find someone great, and Dorian deserved to find someone who was a giver and not a taker.

When they emerged much later, Max with a sheepish smile and Dorian with one full of satisfaction, she had found a place for breakfast by the precinct. They took a carriage, a brilliant innovation wherein the average person with a good reputation could drive someone around without being attached to a cab company, to the Diner she found.

It was fashioned in an older style, with a neon sign and metal fabricated walls. On th,e inside there was a bar top with red pleather bar stools, pictures of local history and famous people hung on the walls. There was a picture in black and white that showed the castle ruins the city was built upon. You could still see the old stones, roofless and somewhat tattered, if you went to visit the site today. The capital buildings and the main courthouse was once a part of it but built much later. The architecture mirrored the old style on the outside and Evie couldn’t wait to walk through the doors of the said courthouse with purpose and promise.

The three of them got a booth in a corner and talked shop. She told them what she wanted to accomplish, and Max was a huge advocate.

“I knew you were destined for greater things than our family was willing to provide.” He was glowing with pride. “You should come with me to meet the chief tomorrow and start building relationships with the local cops. There really is nothing better for a lawyer than to have a great foundation with their police.” He told her.

“Max is right,” Dorian added, “So much of the time it is who you know and not what you know.”

“You really wouldn’t mind me tagging along? You might lead people to believe we are married again you know?” She teased her brother.

“Ha ha.” He deadpanned, “I had no idea we didn’t interact like ‘normal’ siblings.”

“I think it’s because you two love each other more than the normal siblings. Also, you don’t really look related.” Dorian opined.

“Well, I don’t really care. I thrive on doing things that are unexpected and not ‘normal,’” Evie quoted in the air with her fingers to prove her point, “other people’s opinions truly don’t bother me. They never have.”

That made Max laugh outright. It made their waitress give pause as she dropped off their food. She recovered quickly, however, and gave Max and Dorian a cheeky smile.

“If there is anything else I can do for you gentlemen, just let me know. My name is Flissa.” She pointedly ignored Evie, and the boys started chuckling under their breath.

“We’re good for now sweetheart, but we will call for you if we need anything else.” Dorian winked at her and made her blush. Evie grinned and laughed on the inside. She thought ‘good luck girl’ and watched her saunter off.

They talked for a while and Evie could really use a refill on her coffee. Max and Dorian were caught up in each other, so she decided to take her mug to the bar top for a refill. It seems like Flissa started to ignore them when it became apparent that she wasn’t getting a bigger tip by flirting.

She sat on a stool next to a blonde guy to wait for her refill. Evie was never one to be that close to someone and not strike up a conversation and today was no different.

“The coffee is really good here yeah?” She asked the guy sitting next to her. There was a long pause before he responded.

“Are you talking to me?” He asked.

“Yep, but you can tell me to buzz off if you want. I have been told I’m overly friendly.”

“No, uh, it’s fine.” He said. Evie looked at him for a moment.

She could see how gorgeous he was now that he was facing her. He had unruly curls that were tamed into a respectable style. He was slightly flushed, perhaps from the coffee, perhaps from her attention, she didn’t know. There was a five o’clock shadow gracing his jaw, but as it was still early afternoon, it was more than likely because he didn’t shave today. It was sexy, and it set off his second-best feature, or what Evie thought were his best features.

He had a scar running diagonally through his upper lip on the right. The scruff drew attention to it rather than hiding it. It emphasized the fullness of his mouth and it pulled slightly at his words to give him a perpetual half grin. The thing that truly grabbed her attention though, were his eyes. They were pools of honey whiskey. Warm and bright.

Evie always had words, but when that whiskey stare met her eyes, she struggled to find what to say.

“Good.” There was a gap in her thinking as she tried to figure out what to say. “I’m Evie.” Was what she finally blurted out.

“My name is Cullen. And yes, the coffee is really quite good at The Rest.”

Evie glanced back at her table to see her two men busy and not paying any attention to her. She was happy for them, and it gave her an opportunity to get to know people in her new city.

“I’m Evie. Good to meet you Cullen.” She put her hand out and was pleasantly surprised when he shook it with confidence. Men usually shook her hand like a limp noodle or so strong that she could tell they were trying to prove something.

“The pleasure is truly mine.” This from the deep gravely voice of the very sexy man beside her.

Chapter Text

Cullen paused. He thought to himself that there was no way the beautiful woman was talking to him. He watched her enter his regular haunt earlier. She sat with two very attractive men and he tried not to stare at them for the last half hour. Now she was next to him. He was never, what anyone would consider eloquent. In fact, unless he was talking about work, he felt awkward and out of practice. One could never truly practice conversing with a stranger unless one is in it. And he was not the person to enter unnecessarily into a conversation.

When it became obvious the woman was talking to him, he answered. Though if he was able to get a better look at her beforehand, he may not have. After he bumbled some sort of reply he got an up-close look at her.

She was, simply put, gorgeous. Her midnight hair lay down her back in soft waves that appeared natural and the green gaze she sent his way seemed otherworldly. It was, in a word, magnificent. Which is exactly why he didn’t think she could ever be talking to him.

But as he sat there digesting what she said, he realized that she only could be talking to him. There was no one else in the vicinity. He answered dumbly. If anyone asked what he said later, he wouldn’t be able to tell them. It might have been something about the weather, but he was hopeful he answered her question. He was pretty sure it was about the coffee.

“The pleasure is truly mine.” Is what he told her in the end. But what he really wanted to say was much more sinister.

Her lips were meant for kissing, her body meant for loving. He would love to give her hair its due by grabbing it mercilessly. Her body was meant to be worshipped. But, he was predictably, a discomfited gentleman.

“Is this your first time here?” At least it was a coherent question.

“Yes,” the goddess answered, “My brother and I are moving here, and I am trying to find, not only the best coffee but the best eats.”

Good, a safe topic of conversation. Wait, she might be around here more often?

“Well, you will find both here at The Rest. During the day Flissa has the best food and in the evening and at night, Corf has the best cocktails and brews.” He told her.

“Really?” She seemed excited, “This turns to a bar at night.”

“Not so much a bar as a local place to relax.” Cullen explained to her. “Some people come with a book to read while they drink, others come to wind down after a long day.” He tried to confer to her the difference between a local hangout and the rest. “You could come here and find a game of Wicked Grace or as likely there will be half the police force trying to forget their day.”

“That sounds amazing, no pressure, no dealing with stupid guys trying to grab your ass.”

The last made Cullen upset for no reason. No one should touch any lady without their consent.

“Does that happen often?” He asked her, trying for nonchalance.

She laughed before answering.

“If it doesn’t happen at least once a week, I would be worried I was doing something wrong.”

“Uh, . . . I’m not sure . . . what that . . .” He fumbled for the words, “What exactly does that mean?” He finally asked her, his surprise and confusion probably evident on his face.

“I guess that means, I like to look attractive.” She sipped at her coffee with a soft smile gracing her perfect lips.

“What does being attractive have anything to do with whether a man is a gentleman or not?” He was only a little confused by her explanation. Cullen knew what slut-shaming was. He read articles about it happening in schools and the workplace. A woman, who wanted to look good, was shamed for showing too much skin, or too much of her curves. The world treated them like they were trying to goad the men around them. Those men couldn’t help themselves when faced with cleavage or tight pants. It was awful really, and many men used that to their advantage.

There were men in Thedas who believed that a woman only showed off her assets because she wanted them to look, wanted them to touch. That fact that it gave them an excuse to act like a thoughtless arsehole was erroneous.

“I guess, many men aren’t ‘man’ enough to believe that I want to look good for me and not for them.” She paused for a moment before adding, “I don’t mind though, I take care of the ones who pass the line and play with the ones who don’t.”

“What do you mean, take care of?” He asked her. Cullen had a brief thought that he was remarkably comfortable in this conversation. Perhaps it was because he was passionate about this line of dialog. Or perhaps it was that Evie, that was her name right, made him comfortable. Though he wouldn’t touch the last part of her statement with a meter stick. His comfort vanished when she looked at him deeply with unique green eyes and answered.

“I put them in their place.” Her stare was intense, it didn’t make him uncomfortable exactly, just turned him back into a babbling idiot.

“I see, and what is it you do.” He looked away for a moment, too seared by her expression, “to put them in their place?” When he looked back at her, she was smiling brightly again.

“I drop them on their sorry arses.” She laughed. It was too throaty to be called a giggle, too melodic to be called a chuckle. Her laughter was like a fall storm, enough moisture to quench the dried grass, but with enough force to fell the unprepared.

“Well, that’s good I guess.” Cullen turned back to his plate, assuming the conversation was over.

“That’s it?” She asked him confused.

“Sorry?” He didn’t know what she wanted from him.

“You’re not going to probe into how?”

“Oh, uh, did you . . . uh . . . want me to?” He was confused. Was she still talking to him? Did she really want to keep having this discussion?

“I’m not sure.” She answered honestly and looked over her shoulder to the two gentlemen who were occupied at her table. “I don’t like having to explain myself normally, but I find that I want to keep talking with you.”

Cullen almost spewed the coffee he had just sipped out of his mouth in surprise.

“Maker, why would you want to talk with me?” He asked her with astonishment.

“You don’t know, do you?” She looked at the confusion that must have been plain on his face and started to laugh uproariously. Cullen looked around, sure that she had garnered the attention of every person around them. While the two men that had accompanied her looked in their direction with a quizzical eye, no one else seemed to be bothering them.

“Uh, I feel like I have something to apologize for.” He started, and she just laughed some more. Cullen could feel his skin getting hot and knew he was blushing. He started fidgeting uncomfortably in his seat, so preoccupied with his own thoughts that he almost didn’t hear her.

“Cullen, you are both nice and hot. Why wouldn’t I want to talk to you.”

“Oh . . . well.” What should he say? “Thank you?”

“Hmmm,” She was smiling at him. It was a one-sided smile, both demure and condescending. “You should try that again without questioning it.”

Oh, she was complimenting him, and he was messing it all up.

“I’ve always been glad to be a gentleman.” He turned red again as she sniggered softly.

“You are that,” it was only a moment before she added, “but I also said you were hot.”

Now he really did babble incoherently. He was scarred, he had perpetual bags under his eyes. And while he was fit, since he took his new position, he had put on some weight that was new for him. How could a woman like her look at him twice? Something of his thoughts must have shown on his face, for Evie turned to him full of sobriety.

“I find you very attractive Cullen. And I am sorry that yourself and/or others don’t see your physical worth.”

“Well . . . uh . . . thanks.” He sort of mumbled. He was never good at taking praise unless he knew it was due. He rubbed the back of his neck and tried to figure out what he wanted. He was exceptionally glad that she wanted to talk to him and that she found him attractive, but he has always been a man of action.

To be able to converse comfortably with people, one of three things were usually present. Either they worked with him, whether he reported to them, or they reported to him; they were longtime friends, or they were family. He was trying with a desperation he usually didn’t feel, to find something to talk about with the amazing woman sitting next to him.

“So the men who are with you?” Don’t do it, he told himself, “are you with one of them?” Shit, he did it, oh wait, there’s more. “Or both of them . . . that’s okay too. I mean if you are. . . If you aren’t and find that offensive . . . I mean . . . Maker’s breath.” Stop, just stop talking before you scare her.

“Well, to answer your question, that is my brother and his lover.” There was something in her voice other than humor and he realized that he had looked away when he was blundering with his mouth. He looked back at her expecting disdain at the worst, laughter at the best. He was surprised in more than one way.

The mirth he was expecting after she informed him of the familial attachment of the men was there, but it started to fade quite quickly. What replaced it was, arousal.

Her lips were slightly parted and glistened slightly as she must have licked them. Green gold eyes were starting to dilate, and her eyes were partially closed. Her breathing picked up and her chest was slightly heaving. Her breasts pressed tightly against the front of her shirt, nipples peaked. Maker, did he do that? What was it that aroused her so?

“You don’t have a problem with a woman being with two men?” She asked, slightly breathless.

Oh. That’s what did it. Cullen had someone who worked for him in a poly relationship, though it was a little of a unique situation, it worked for them. He himself, being bisexual, had oft fantasized about being in a relationship with understanding people that would allow him to meet both his needs. Albeit his original fantasy, they were two separate relationships. After getting to know Lilianna and her situation, it changed.

He could just imagine having two lovers, a man and a woman, who also loved each other. Everyone having their needs met and living as a cohesive unit. His minds brief foray into his fantasy placed Evie as one of those two people. Between her reaction and question and his distractingly wicked thoughts, Cullen scooted closer to the bar to hide the physical presentation of his stimulation. He looked at her then.

“No.” Was all he said, but his voice had pitched lower, warmer. He felt the side of his mouth that was scarred curl up as he turned his now heated gaze toward Evie.

She reacted. Her eyes closed, stealing away the emerald depths from him.  But when she opened them again, it stole his breath.

“Oh.” Evie stared at him with black pools of arousal. “That’s . . . well, that’s something.”

Cullen was always a man of action, so it was easy for him to trail his fingers over the back of the arm closest to him. The soft touch roused her skin. The goosebumps appearing suddenly and very much out of her control. He leaned toward her, his gaze skirting over her striking face.

“Yes, it is.” He whispered in her ear, hot breath tantalizing the sensitive skin behind it. He pulled back to see her reaction. Just in time, to see a composed shell pulled on like a mask.

“If you’re all done chatting the hottie up, we are done and ready to go see Felix.” This from the very attractive blonde man that Cullen assumed was her brother.

“Et si je ne suis pas?“ And what if I’m not?

Her brother turned toward Cullen and gave him a once-over from head to toe.

“Alors je ne vous blâmerais pas. Mais vous semblez attirer beaucoup d'attention masculine, princesse.“ Then I wouldn’t blame you. But you seem to be attracting a lot of male attention, princess.

“Eh bien peut-être que celui-ci ne m’ignorera pas.” Well maybe this one won’t ignore me.

Cullen let them have their conversation, not wanting to let them know he could understand every word. Though he did wonder what they were referring to.

“Le taureau vous ignore? Pourquoi tu n'as rien dit?” The Bull is ignoring you? Why didn’t you say anything?

“Parce qu'il travaille, et ce n'était pas comme si nous faisions autre chose que de nous embrasser de toute façon.” Because, he is working, and it wasn’t like we did anything more than kiss anyway.

Cullen decided to stop before he heard anything too personal.

“Am I interrupting a family dispute?”

“Not at all.” Evie glared at her brother. “We are going to meet up with Dorian's friend, and as much as I would love to continue our conversation, it seems we must all be off.”

At the mention of his name, the pretty man Dorian, came over.

“I couldn’t help but overhear, and I don’t mean to be boorish, but we really must be off. Evie, I do apologize for taking you from such delectable company.” Again, with a once-over. He had such a lecherous look on his face and Cullen didn’t think he could be redder.

“Fine, fine.” Evie gave in and Cullen was quite disappointed. This had been the most intensely seductive interaction that he has had in much longer than he wanted to admit to himself. “But here, take my card. Text me okay.” He took it before answering.

“Of course.” His face slipped into his easy smile. He could tell that Evie truly felt sorry for having to leave. As she stood up to go, her soft fingers traced the edge of his jaw, before leaving him.

He felt bereft without her touch. Andraste had surely smiled on him today. His own fingers traced over where hers had caressed. He knew he would be wearing a stupid grin through the next coming days, and as he placed her card in his wallet without truly looking at it, he wondered how soon is too soon to contact her.

Chapter Text

Evie was only a little confused when she left the diner. She really felt a connection with the sexy blonde she met today. So much so that she was worried. She thought she had a connection with Bull, but he was despondent in his communication. Would Cullen be any better? She had to wonder about what kind of men she was allowing herself to become attracted too. On one hand, there was Bull. He seemed amazing, accepted her independence, and was forceful in the best of ways. She bonded with him or, so she thought.

She didn’t understand his reluctance to talk with her after they had the connection they did. Maybe she didn’t know him well enough to judge. Maybe he had a habit of making the most of any contact he had with women without having the follow through. But she honestly thought he was just busy. Evie knew she would see him tomorrow and things could either pick up where they left off, or he would be moving on to the next woman on his list.

She didn’t want to think he was like that. She was good at reading people, and unless Bull was really good at hiding himself from both her and Max . . .

Then there was Cullen. He was sexy, there was no doubt, but he was so adorable too. They way he stammered as he talked with her. She knew she could be intimidating, and he was obviously unsure of his physical attraction. But there was something about him that just called to her. Once interest seemed to be established, he seemed so sure of himself. She felt her arousal as he whispered into her ear at the end of the conversation. There her brother had to ruin it out of either a misplaced loyalty to Bull or out of genuine needing to leave. Either way, he was a jerk.

“What was that?” Max asked her. Evie didn’t realize she had spoken out loud. “Did you just say jerk?”

“I was connecting there thank you very much, so yes, you were a jerk.” She told her brother.

“It wasn’t intentional, Felix told Dorian that he was having a good day and up for some shopping. We thought it best to take advantage now.” He seemed contrite enough.

“It’s okay. He was just getting good though.”

“What does that mean?” Dorian asked her. “If he was just getting good, what held you there for the twenty minutes beforehand?”

“Oh Maker, he was so adorable,” Evie explained to the boys about his obvious shyness talking with her.

“You, darling, are going to eat him up.”

“I don’t know about that. Once he worked up to it, he was more confident.” Evie tried to explain to the men what happened.

“He thought you were with both of us?” Max sputtered.

“It turned you on didn’t it?” Dorian asked with a coy smile.

“Maker yes, it did.”

“So, once he had you aroused, he found his assertiveness.” Max mused, “Interesting.”

“That’s one word for it.” Evie smiled and shuddered with the memory.

“What word would you have used?”

“Hot.” Evie replied unabashedly. “Hot as fuck!”

Everyone was laughing as they got out of the car at the Alexius home. It was beautiful in an understated way. You knew from looking at it that who ever lived there was wealthy but it wasn’t brazen or ostentatious. It reminded her of the historical townhomes that she had seen in Denerim. Beautiful red brick with white detailed trimming. The roof heights were as varied as the finishes. Some had steeples others had balconies. The homes weren’t too narrow, in fact, they looked quite comfortable. There was tall wrought iron fencing around the front yards with magnetic gates that required a security code or for someone to let you in.

Evie watched Max hand Dorian his phone and he looked down at it before punching a code into the small security device. Evie couldn’t wait to spoil Dorian rotten with her daddy’s credit card. First thing was a new phone.

The gate opened and the three walked toward the front door. They barely made it to the stoop when it swung open and a slender man was clinging to Dorian.

“I am so relieved to see you.” He stepped back enough to look up at Dorian and for Evie to get a good look at him.

His skin was like coffee with too much cream. He should have been darker, but it was obvious to Evie that he wasn’t well. He had dark circles under his eyes and his cheeks were slightly hollow. His hair was kept too short to truly tell what color it was. All she saw was dark. It looked like it was thinning slightly at the front hairline. She didn’t think it was due to age. He couldn’t be much older than Dorian, but he carried the weight of worlds. She allowed herself the luxury of watching him as Dorian introduced him to her brother, his lover.

“Felix, this is Max.” Dorian stood tall, he was proud to introduce the two men.

“Ah, yes. The man whose charm kept you from coming to see me last night.” Felix was joking and not at all serious.

“Well can you blame me?” Max asked Felix. They started with a handshake, but then Max leaned closer to him and kissed both his cheeks in Orlesian fashion.

“Well, at least I know what Dorian sees in you.” He looked toward Dorian with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips. Then he turned his gaze on Evie. His eyes were a rich brown and full of intelligence. This was a man who had so much to offer. So much to live for.

“And this lovely lady is Evie.” Dorian introduced her.

“Now Dorian, it has never become you to understate things.” He turned the full weight of his downturned eyes on hers. His eyes were brown, but not the nondescript brown of his hair. They were the color of wet soil or of good Rivaini chocolate. So dark that the pupil was barely a perceptible difference. Rather than make them look lighter, the soft amber flecks in his iris just emphasized the depth of his gaze. Even had she not known how ill he was, she would have known. She was taken aback first by the pain in his stare, second by what he said.

“Quia speciosus est in Tevinter Solis exortum antevenit, mi amice.” She is as beautiful as a Tevinter sunrise, my friend.

Evie actually blushed.

“Gratias tibi valde.” Thank you very much.

“Ah, I apologize for my forthrightness.”

“No apology required.” Evie laughed. “I am quite flattered.”

“Yes,” Dorian added, “There is no hiding from Evie through language.”

“Max, comunque, possiamo dire tutto ciò che vogliamo su di lui.” Max, however, we can say whatever we want about him. Evie told them in laughing rivaini and to Max’s chagrin, the two other men laughed right along with her.

“Well, you best come inside then. Father will want to see you, Dorian. He has been quite worried. It has been a few weeks since Mae had contacted us.”

Evie shared a look with her brother at that. They both wondered but would never ask. Evie looked up in time to see Dorian witness their exchange and slightly grimace.

“Più tardi, Evie. Lo prometto.” Later, Evie. I promise.

Felix was amazing. He was funny and a gentleman, funny and charismatic, if a little quiet, but the thing that Evie got the most from him was his resolve. He knew his situation was dire but was never ‘woe is me’ about it. He seemed genuinely happy in his soft-spoken way.

His father, Gerion Alexius was so full of love for his son, that he was almost oblivious to the rest of them. Except for Dorian that is.

“Dorian, my boy, so glad you could get yourself down here.” They embraced each other fondly.

“Thank you, Alexius, I am quite glad to be here as well.”

“And you’ve met some friends. Excellent.” Evie and her brother now found themselves under the scrutiny of the tall man.

“Hi sunt qui velint sanguine malle?” Are they willing to be tested? Alexius asked Dorian. Evie could only fathom what it was he meant. She didn’t know if Max understood what was said or not. Both Dorian and Felix looked at Evie before continuing on.

“Pater, ego cogito iam non est tempus.” Father, I don’t think now is the time.

“They iustus got novus hie Alexius, sunt secundum quid de amicitia iuncti sunt. Orare ut datum sanguis non est causa tam cito.” They just got here Alexius and are relatively of new acquaintance. I wouldn’t ask them to donate blood to the cause so quickly.

Evie realized two things. Neither Dorian or Felix needed Alexius to know that she was fluent in Tevene, and they were talking about someone being a match for a kidney transplant. Evie wasn’t worried about either, she doubted someone native to the Free Marches would be a suitable match for a Tevinter. She shared a look with Max and allowed them to continue the conversation a little longer.

“Quare hic sunt ergo?” Why are they here, then? Alexius wasn’t upset just genuinely confused.

“Quia, patre sunt Doriam amicis.” Because, father, they are Dorians friends.

“Conscientiam autem dico non per amicos te in Ferelden.” I wasn’t aware you had friends over in Ferelden.

“Gerion Alexius, allow me to introduce Max and Evie Trevelyan.” Dorian was finished excluding them from the conversation it seemed.

“Pleasure to meet you.” Max held out his hand for the older man. As Alexius shook it firmly, he asked.

“How do you two know Dorian. I didn’t think he had ever been this far south before.”

“We met him yesterday on the flight over.” Evie announced, but saw a skeptical and slightly fearful look on Alexius face. “We immediately fell in love with him, he told us about Felix and we wanted to meet and invite him out with us.” Evie was saying more animatedly than usual so as to stem the direction of Gerions thoughts.

“Don’t get your hopes up, my dear.” Alexius said to Evie with a sad smile. That just made Max laugh uproariously.

“I don’t think she could handle any more new male attention right now anyway.” Max chimed in. “I, on the other hand, am very fond of Dorian's attention.” This was said with a wicked grin.

“Well,” Felix interrupted before his father could continue. “shall we be off?” Alexius looked sternly at his son for only a moment before his look softened.

“Just remember your promise, Felix. Rest if you need to, there is no shame in needing to take a break.” He took a breath and then shut his mouth. It looked like he wanted to say something else and thought better of it. Alexius took one more breath and started again.

“Nisi velis id quod optimum est quia dixi tibi. Te amo. Patrimonium teque non possum ferre sententiam. Autem, vos postulo scio sentiunt vivere, non modo viveret.” I only want what is best for you. I love you. I cannot bear the thought of you tiring yourself out. However, I know you need to feel alive, not just be alive.

He spoke so passionately that Evie felt her eyes get misty as he continued.

“Si placet itaque tibi requiem, et non potest manducare.” So please, rest and eat if you can.

Father and son hugged, and Evie caught Dorian's eyes before he looked away. He was obviously happy for his friend but was wistful. Dorian looked at her before she could look away. Her face must have shown more than she intended, for when Dorian saw it, he rushed his eyes to the floor. It was as if he was having an interior dialog with himself because soon he lifted his stormy eyes back to her emerald ones. He let her see the raw anguish, he let her see his pain and his joy. Dorian gave Evie a gift. For but a moment, he allowed all the feelings he so carefully hid away, to be out and the open. But only for her.

After that moment had passed, Max was saucily putting his arm through Dorians and speaking to the room.

“So where too first?” He glanced at all the faces around him. Evie knew that neither hers nor Dorians gave anything away. “Felix, you know this town better than any of us, what do you think?” Max looked at the slender man beside them.

“Father gave us full use of the car, so why don’t we get in and head toward the city proper while deciding. Was there anything, in particular, you wanted to see?”

“We need to get Dorian a phone.” Evie announced to the car. She could tell that Dorian was about to object. “I have to use my daddy’s credit card before I get cut off, remember.” So today is shopping for everyone. As much as we can handle. Because after today, everything will be on my own dime.

“Well then,” Felix smiled shyly at Evie, “I have just the place to go.”

The driver pulled us up to a beautiful area. The streets were lined with trees both green and gold, real and metal worked. There were fountains everywhere, some just for decoration, others shooting streams into the air. There were a few low to the ground meant for dogs and some on walls for wishing. The stone was new, but the architecture made it look older than it was.

There were amazing restaurants, bars, stages, shopping and two theaters. One was for live performances and was featuring “Wicked” and the other was for movies. There were small boutiques and large designer stores. The whole set up was huge and slightly ostentatious, but it was balanced with little quirky décor and shops, so I loved it.

“Well darling, this is going to be fun.” Dorian said to Evie as he helped her from the car.

“The driver will park and then come to find us to carry bags.” Felix said as the car drifted to the parking lot.

“I will just follow if you don’t mind. Dad can buy me a few suits, perhaps, but have never been much into shopping.” Max told us.

“No shopping, ah how will we find any common ground now?” Dorian play pouted.

“Don’t let him fool you, Dorian.” Evie teased him, “Max doesn’t like shopping for himself. He loves to watch others shop and try things on. He is one of the best people I know to shop with because he tells you the Makers truth about how things look.” Dorian looked at her with eyes large and round in surprise.

“I just don’t see the need for myself to try a bunch of things on. I like it I buy it, if it doesn’t fit, I return it.” Max shrugged.

“That will just not do.” Dorian was incredulous. “Just when I find some sort of flaw, you have to turn around and make even your flaw perfect.” He looked at Max in the eye, lids softly fluttering, “I will have to try on many things for you to critique then, won’t I.”

Max waggled his eyebrows and said one word. “Yep.”

“Okay, first stop electronics.” Evie led the way.

Chapter Text

Evie got Dorian added on to her phone plan with a new phone. “It’s more economical this way.” She told him when he tried to argue. After electronics they did shoes. She bought him several pairs. Since he didn’t know what he was going to be doing yet, she got a sampling of everything. Loafers, sports shoes, dress shoes in black and brown, and two pairs of the short boots that Dorian had fallen in love with. She got Felix a pair of hiking boots that he thought were neat. Max a new pair of dress shoes and a pair of short leather boots that Dorian insisted on. And for herself, she got a few new pairs of pumps. They were fun shoes, something that she could wear for work, but were more for going out. At the last moment, she indulged in a pair of really sparkly high heels that she thought she could wear out with Bull. Between the shoe place and the Men’s Store, her phone pinged.

4:15 PM??: I hope this isn’t too soon.

4:15 PM??: If it is I apologize, but I wanted to text you hours ago and stopped myself.

Holy Maker, it was Cullen. He was already chatting with her. And he wanted to do it earlier. He seemed like such a sweet guy.

4:16 PM Evie: Not too soon.

4:16 PM Evie: Just doing some shopping.

4:16 PM Cullen: That’s nice where are you shopping at?

4:16 PM Evie: Not sure what it’s called. Dorian's friend took us to this amazing shopping center.

4:17 PM Cullen: Well, I’m glad you’re having fun.

“You have a stupid grin on your face princess, is Bull finally texting you back?” Max asked.

“Nope, it’s the guy from the diner.”

“Really?” This from Dorian. “He is already chatting with you? What did he say?”

“Nothing too much at this point. But I don’t think he is done yet.”

“Didn’t you both just arrive here?” Felix asked.

“Yeah, last night.” Max told him.

“Wait, let me see if I have this right. Just before moving here, Evie met a guy that lives here that is interested in her and she was interested in. Max meets an amazing, wonderful, debonair man on the plane who has a fantastic, smart, and talented friend. They end up hooking up and connecting. Then Evie meets another hot guy who is now texting her. And Evie has been attracting looks from men and women alike, some with lust, some with jealousy, ever since we got here.” Felix looked at Evie. “I think the Maker really wanted you to be in Skyhold. He seems to be making it easy for you to stay.” He looked over at Dorian then, “Or you possess some sort of desire demon energy and it is looking for people to play with.”

“I hardly think that is the case.” Max was laughing along. Evie was contemplative. She knew she was attractive. Perhaps not in a classic way, but lately she has felt better. She didn’t know why, but maybe it showed through the way she carried herself.

“Well, I know all of the jealous stares have been because I am hanging out with three of the most amazing and attractive men in Skyhold.” She told them.

“Of course, you are darling,” Dorian drawled, “but you do know that you are a lovely tidbit all by yourself, and not all the men were pining over our magnificence.”

“True, but let’s test that theory in here.”

They walked in, to walls of suits, dress shirts, and sport coats. Ties were displayed on elegant tables and across from the fitting rooms was an area where someone could have a custom suit made. Beyond that were rows of casual wear. Silk t-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and designer jeans were on glass tables and mahogany shelving.

A petite woman in slacks and a jacket and bleached blonde hair approached the group.

“Good afternoon, my name is Gwen what can I do to help you today?” She asked the men; her Orlesian accent made more prominent by the lascivious tone she was using. Evie answered for them.

“I would love to get my three men here into custom suits, they would also need at least one more a piece. All except Dorian here.” She watched the woman’s reactions, shock at how Evie addressed them as her men, then greed at her commission from what would be a lucrative sale.

“Why except me, my flower.” Dorian picked up on the potential to play a little game with the salesperson. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her on the forehead.

“Dorian, luv.” Max chastised, “You know better than to question our princess.” He then leaned into Dorian to kiss his lips before turning to Evie and kissing her on the cheek. Evie was already trying to suppress her mirth when Felix jumped in.

“Come my dears, we are embarrassing poor Gwen here.”

“Not at all.” She seemed to recover quickly. “Let me take you to the custom area to get started.”

“Dorian will need two custom suits and two others.” Evie had her arm in his and was trailing her fingers along his bicep, looking ‘lovingly’ into his eyes. “He’s my current favorite.” She whispered loudly into Gwen’s ear. Her expression was worth it, but then she had to go and ruin it.

“Pauvres choses négligées. Je pourrais te rattraper si tu voulais.” Poor neglected things. I could make it up to you if you wanted. She touched Felix arm and grasped onto Max’s.

All four of them stopped in shock at the woman. If their rouse was true it would have been incredibly inappropriate. She didn’t know they were teasing, but her reaction was tasteless and unseemly.

“Je pense que je dois parler avec votre manager.” I think I need to speak to your manager. Evie's face was cold, her eyes filled with disdain. This woman was less than nothing. Her face showed fear.

“Cela ne sera pas nécessaire.” That will not be necessary. She squeaked out. “Let me introduce you to Nathanial, he is our top custom consultant.” She couldn’t be rid of us fast enough.

Evie watched as Gwen quickly told Nathanial what was going on and he walked over with a smile. He was very professional and friendly. He did his job well. We were there for just under two hours and we left having purchased four custom suits and four off the rack that would need to be tailored for all but Felix. Evie purchased Dorian several pairs of jeans, a few slacks, shirts, ties, sweaters, and underwear. Max tried to convince Dorian to model them for everyone, but Felix quickly put a stop to that. It seems he didn’t want to get kicked out. I was paying too much money, we could have dirty danced in said underwear and wouldn’t have gotten kicked out. But we didn’t need any more leering from miss blonde in the corner.

“Perfect, John is here to get our bags.” Felix announced, as he took them to bring to the car he announced, “I am feeling a little tired and hungry actually. Can we stop for some food?”

“That sounds perfect. Then we can discuss where to go next.” Evie said.

“Evie, darling, I know that you want to spend this money I do, but don’t you think it’s enough. I really can’t think of anything else I could need.”

“Don’t be silly,” Evie told him as they walked into a steakhouse. “The next store is for me.”

They ordered. It was amazing food, not amazing service. The restaurant wasn’t even that busy. There was never a good excuse for poor customer service. She had worked in food service as a teen. Her parents wanted her to gain an appreciation for hard work. She did, but she knew how simple it was to just say something along the lines of ‘I’m sorry, we are a little short-staffed tonight, but I will do everything I can to make sure you’re taken care of.’ It was so little and regardless of its truth, it put people at ease. Most people just wanted to know that they weren’t feeling ignored. In the end, it didn’t’ matter. They were all chatting and it was getting later.

Evie was excited to see Bull tomorrow. She decided to make sure it happened.

6:15 PM Evie: What time does your flight come in tomorrow? I will pick you up.

6:17 PM Bull: I was going to call you.

6:18 PM Evie: About what?

6:20 PM Bull: I am staying longer.

Evie really wasn’t sure what to say to him at this point. She wasn’t his girlfriend, she had no right to judge or question. If he didn’t want to see her that was fine. But there were other people that were interested in her, that she was interested in. She didn’t want to harass him. So, what did she do?

In the end, Evie decided to treat Bull like a friend instead of a love interest. That would make things so much less complicated. She felt good about that. It isn’t like they had ever discussed what would happen when they both lived in the same city.

6:21 PM Evie: Damn, work must be intense. Let me know when you are back in town.

6:21 PM Evie: Or if you need a ride from the airport.

6:23 PM Bull: Will do! Thanks.

Okay, that was it. They were friends. That was okay. He was a great guy. She could be friends with him. It was up to her to separate emotions. It was so stupid though. Why did he kiss her the way he did if he just wanted to be friends? But why didn’t he talk to her like he wanted more? Men were so confusing. Just when she thought she had them figured out, one would come into her life with a different flavor.

6:27 PM Cullen: If you are done shopping there is a great place I think you guys would love for dinner.

Wow, Evie just moments before had decided that she was not waiting on Bull and the sexy Diner guy was texting her. Maybe Felix had a point. Did she exude some sort of sensual energy? Oh well, it didn’t’ really matter did it. It was all what she made of it. If Bull wasn’t interested, then she was free to pursue Cullen.

6:28 PM Evie: Damn, you couldn’t have messaged me half hour ago?

6:28 PM Evie: We are eating at a place that has the food of the Maker but service from the Void.

6:28 PM Cullen: Ha, and here I thought I was being forward by sending you that.

6:28 PM Evie: You are as forward as a four-way stop.

6:29 PM Cullen: I’m not exactly sure what that means?

6:29 PM Evie: No one ever knows who is supposed to make the next move. We all sit around waiting for someone to go or to wave us ahead.

6:30 PM Cullen: And am I waiting or waving you ahead?

6:30 PM Evie: That is a very intelligent question. . . I’ll get back to you on that.

6:30 PM Cullen: I win!!

Evie didn’t think that deserved an answer, so she didn’t give one. What were the chances of her meeting an awesome guy in a diner? Perhaps as possible of her favorite brothers’ friend being into her.

She scolded herself. Don’t think like that. There are a lot of guys who think with their eyes. Out of sight out of mind. That was fine unless they were monogamous and after Cullen’s comment earlier in the day, did all relationships have to be monogamous to work?

“I agree, don’t you Evie?” This from Dorian.

“I’m sorry, what?” She felt bad for ignoring the others.

“Dorian was just teasing you. We weren’t talking about anything of import. He just noticed your distraction and thought he would call you out on it.” Felix told her.

“Well aren’t you a little wretch.”

“Perhaps, but now that you are in the realm of the thinking, what was it that had you so distracted?” Max asked her.

“Men!” was all she replied. She took a long drink from her straw.

“That’s it?” Max was flabbergasted. “That’s all the information I get?”

“What do you want me to say?” She asked her brother. “Bull basically told me don’t call him he’ll call me, and the sexy blonde wanted to tell me about a great restaurant. What am I supposed to say?” Evie was upset now. “I thought I had a connection with Bull, but he is pushing me away. In the meantime, this other amazing guy is giving me his attention and maybe I want it!”

“Oh, princess.” Max sighed. “You are worth so much more than attention. I am sorry if Bull can’t or won’t see that, but it’s true.” He paused and the other men at the table were nodding their heads softly as if they weren’t fully aware of what they were doing.

Evie knew that. She had no doubt of her self-worth, not really. It was just shocking to develop what she thought was a connection and have it severed over a matter of hours.

“You guys are right. There is so much fruit on the branches, it’s almost embarrassing. I’m not going to wait for anyone but myself.”

“Good for you darling. You are amazing and only the best of men should be allowed to worship you.” Dorian told her.

“I don’t know about worship.” Evie was teasing, but then she realized Dorian was serious.

“Evie, you are worth so much more than the average woman. I have only met one other woman worthy of the amount of greatness you are, and she had to work a lot harder than you to achieve it. Your very being exudes worth and prominence. Take what you will, when you will.”

Evie was at a loss for words. It didn’t happen often. In fact, she could remember the last time she didn’t have some sort of rebuttal. So she said the only thing she could.

“Thank you, Dorian.” Evie looked down out of shyness not trying to be coy. But it may have looked that way.

Chapter Text

Cullen stared at his phone. He willed it to ping with a message from Evie. He was trying to be smart about this. He wanted to take her and run away. She saw through his bumbling self and responded to his flirty side. He waited for hours before texting her the first time, then more hours before talking to her again. He wishes he would feel comfortable just calling her. One, she was shopping and busy with her friends, two, he just didn’t think he could hold his charm when listening to the dulcet sound of her voice.

He wasn’t going to think about it anymore. He would go about his evening like normal and if he got a message then he did if he didn’t . . . Well, it wouldn’t be too creepy to tell her good night, would it?

Cullen cleaned up the remnants of his dinner, wiping down the stove and putting his plate in the dishwasher and soaked the pan in his sink. He would clean it before going to bed as was his habit. He looked at his phone briefly before going on the small balcony to smoke. Nicodemus plodded out behind him and sat staring at Cullen intently.

“I know, I know. It’s bad for me.” Nic barked at him. The intelligence in his dog's eye screamed disappointment.

“I’m trying to quit.” His mabari wines at him and Cullen swears he rolls his eyes.

“Look I am down to three a day now. You should be proud of what I’ve accomplished.” Cullen stares down Nic and he finally lies down at his feet. His head is in the perfect position to be scratched so he does. He looks at his only companion for the last few years and wonders out loud. “I wonder if she likes dogs?” Then he sighs at himself. Nicodemus is getting older, and with as much as he works, he wonders if he gets lonely.

Cullen never thought he was lonely until he stared into deep green eyes surrounded by thick lashes and a spattering of freckles. As he took the last drag of his cigarette, he looked through the window into his apartment.

He has lived in the same place for almost ten years. He never found the need to move after becoming Chief, though he could afford something more if he wanted. He liked his life simple. He had a routine, he had friends, and he had Nicodemus. As he looked at his place though, he realized something. It wasn’t a home.

It almost made him want to call Mia. Truthfully the only reason he didn’t was that he didn’t want his phone tied up, just in case. He sighed audibly as he got up from the lone chair on his balcony and went back inside. His hand was rubbing at the back of his neck. Maker he was in trouble. To stop his wandering thoughts, he looked over the files on his desk.

He had read through them multiple times already, but he was meeting with the man tomorrow for lunch and thought he should peruse them once more.

Max Trevelyan worked his way up in the ranks quickly. He started with a street beat like everyone else, the first detective he worked with was close to retirement and was impressed by his attention to detail and his lack of ‘glory-hounding.’ Many other reports say the same thing. Detective Trevelyan was more concerned with solving the crime than having the glory of it.

Though Cullen had been through the files many times before, for the first time looking at the solemn man in his photograph, he had an inkling of recognition. He couldn’t place his face exactly, it was more of a thought of familiarity than anything. It must have been the number of times he had seen it. 

The thought of Detective Trevelyan’s photograph fled his mind when he heard his phone ping.

8:42 PM Evie: It looks like you were waiting, and I am waving you ahead.

Cullen read the message confused for a moment before scrolling up to their last conversation.

8:42 PM Cullen: Well it looks like I didn’t have to wait for long.

8:43 PM Evie: Should I make you wait longer?

Maker’s breath no, he thought. What to say, what to say . . .

8:43 PM Cullen: Maker’s breath no

That was clever, he snuffed at himself. Why could he be eloquent like his good friend Bull? Or anyone, for that matter.

8:43 PM Cullen: It has already been 2 hours and 12 minutes. That is long enough.

Andraste, did that make his sound stalkerish, or desperate. Damn.

Cullen cradled his head in his hands. Fuck it. Just go for it.

8:44 PM Evie: Yes, quite long enough, I agree.

8:44 PM Cullen: So how did the rest of your evening end up?

That was safe territory. He ran over some of the things he could ask her in his head. How could he angle it so that their conversation would naturally lead to them seeing each other again?

8:45 PM Evie: It was great. Got a lot of shopping done now I’m back at the hotel resting.

8:45 PM Cullen: All that shopping take its toll on you? :)

8:45 PM Evie: Yes, as a matter of fact, I am relieved to put my feet up and watch a movie.

8:46 PM Cullen: I’m sure you are.

8:46 PM Cullen: What movie are you watching?

8:46 PM Evie: Nothing right now, just scrolling through and seeing what is on. Nothing really sounds good.

Here was his chance, he could suggest they catch a movie together while she’s here perhaps? But movies are no way to get to know someone. You can’t talk to them while your watching and Cullen would have no idea what kind of movie she would even want to see.

8:47 PM Cullen: There are other ways to relax.

That was good, how else did she spend her time if shopping and movies were out. Maker, now that he re-read his message it sounds licentious. He couldn’t even have a conversation via text without screwing it up.

8:47 PM Evie: Why yes . . . yes, there are. ;)

Well, at least it didn’t scare her off. But now he had no idea how to respond. Perhaps a new direction completely.

8:48 PM Cullen: So what is it you do?

8:48 PM Evie: I am a lawyer . . . well, I just graduated from law school. I am going to open my own firm.

8:49 PM Cullen: Wow! That sounds ambitious.

8:49 PM Evie: Yeah, it will be a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it.

8:49 PM Evie: What about you? What do you do?

8:50 PM Cullen: I’m a cop.

8:50 PM Evie: No way! That’s super cool.

8:50 PM Evie: So, what does a cop like to do for fun around this city?

8:51 PM Cullen: I don’t know about other cops, but I like coffee and donuts.

8:51 PM Evie: ROFL

8:51 PM Evie: I am dying . . . that was awesome

8:52 PM Cullen: Why is that so funny. Donuts are delicious, and coffee keeps you going on long nights.

8:52 PM Evie: Um, sorry if I offended you. I thought you were being stereotypical and funny.

8:52 PM Evie: It’s totally cool if you like coffee and donuts.

8:53 PM Cullen: Hah, got you.

8:54 PM Cullen: I was trying to be funny.

8:54 PM Cullen: I just didn’t think it would work.

8:55 PM Evie: Holy Maker, you really got me. I was really worried I had offended you and you wouldn’t want to see me again.

Maker’s breath. She wants to see him again. Cullen got a little giddy at the thought and he could feel the stupid grin on his face.

8:55 PM Cullen: I would love to see you again.

Would it be to forward . . .

8:56 PM Cullen: Would it be to forward to ask to see you tomorrow?

8:56 PM Cullen: It would have to be an early evening, but I could take you to dinner and show you some of the sites.

8:56 PM Evie: That would be amazing.

8:56 PM Evie: Would you like to pick me up at my hotel?

Cullen’s heart was racing at the thought of being with her at all but at her hotel? Damn.

8:57 PM Cullen: If that’s convenient, it works for me.

8:57 PM Evie: Perfect.

8:57 PM Evie: I can’t wait to see you again.

8:57 PM Cullen: The feeling is mutual. Would 6:15 work for you?

8:58 PM Evie: Absolutely.

8:58 PM Evie: Good night Cullen. Found a movie to watch. I will see you tomorrow night.

Cullen was walking on air, a tune on his lips, as he cleaned the pan from dinner and shut out the lights in the living room. He took his clothes off and left them on the floor. He had the bad habit of leaving them on the floor and then picking them up the next morning, or perhaps the day after. It wasn’t a long time, but it was just him, so it didn’t matter.

He stared at himself in the mirror in only his briefs and wondered. What could a woman like Evie find attractive in him? He wasn’t as fit as he used to be, he was so pale that his automatic blush when talking to women was always apparent. He had outrageous curls that if weren’t tamed look like an unruly mop on his head. He always seemed to have bags under his eyes, and what once used to be a charming smile was bisected with an unseemly scar.

Cullen sucked his stomach in and flexed his biceps. That would work, but unfortunately, he couldn’t breathe. In the end, he knew it didn’t matter. She had already talked to him and wanted to see him again. He sighed and got into bed. He picked up the book he was reading and put on his glasses. He didn’t need them, it just made it easier to read the small print in his books.

He realized after reading the same sentence for the fourth time, that he couldn’t focus. His thoughts were on his evening tomorrow. Where should he take her? What would interest someone like her? He thought about what he knew about her. He pulled over his laptop and started to research. For as long as he had been in Skyhold, he had never played tourist. Most of the places he has been too being because of work. Either with Governor Lavellan or other coworkers.

Cullen woke up to his alarm the next morning with his glasses still on and his computer still on his lap. He had a horrible pain in his neck. Great, he thought. Today is an important day and I am going to end up with a headache.

He arrived at his destination early. He was at The Rest early, both excited and anxious to meet his new charge. This was merely a formality really. He knew that he wanted Max Trevelyan to be part of his team. The crime rate in the city was as it always was, but he desperately wanted to make sure they had less unsolved crime than they had. Since Max became a detective in Ostwick, the crime rate had lowered because more and more were afraid of being caught by the man. There were so many unsolved cases in the archives in his precinct, and as much as he would want crime to lower, he wanted those committing them to be brought to justice. As he sat there sipping at his coffee, his thoughts were stirred by a familiar voice.

“I didn’t know you were meeting him here?” Evie’s melodic tones filled the diner. “I have fond memories of this place.”

As Cullen turned to meet the stunning face that went with that voice, things clicked into place.

“Cullen? You really do come here often.” Her eyes were twinkling with mirth.

“Wait, you never told me Diner Guy's name.” Max, her brother said. The reason his picture suddenly had seemed familiar was apparent. He stood, and Evie walked toward him with a smile that brightened her whole face. Her genuine excitement at seeing him stole his breath for a moment.

“I didn’t? Well, it’s Cullen.” She was still beaming, but Max’s face was unsure. Cullen had only moments to decide what to do. He wanted to see Evie more. Technically it wasn’t fraternization, but it would put him in a social situation with one of his detectives. Options were running through his mind as he opened his arms for Evie’s obvious hug. There was no choice. He looked at Max’s face as he held the angel in his arms, lingering more than was socially acceptable for a friend. It looks like his arms made the decision his brain could not.

“It’s all right Max.” He told the younger man. Evie stepped out of his arms, with a quizzical expression. She looked at him, her mind moving quickly. Her eyes flitted between her brother and him. She briefly let her gaze take in the other occupants of the diner.

“Oh!” She grasped the situation quickly, her voice toned with disappointment. She looked at her brother, Cullen caught the briefest glance of pleading in her eyes. That was a good sign, was it not?

“Evelyn Trevelyan meet Cullen Rutherford, Chief of Police of district 7 in Skyhold.” Max still seemed unsure. The mirror expressions on their faces made the family resemblance more acute. Yesterday, it wouldn’t have been his reaction. But given the circumstances today, Cullen laughed.

He laughed so hard that he could feel his headache dissipate and tears start to gather in his eyes. His laugh seemed to be contagious because Evie and Max joined in. It was hesitant at first, but soon the three of them were laughing so hard the rest of the diner patrons were staring.

“Well, let’s have a seat.” Cullen said, still grinning like a fool.

 

 

Chapter Text

Evie was excited to meet Max’s new boss. She wanted to make connections within the police force. At the back of her mind, she vaguely wondered what precinct Cullen worked for.

She was getting ready and wanted to dress for success. She purchased a lot of new clothes that the boys helped her pick out when they were shopping yesterday. They all had great taste, surprisingly it was Felix who helped her pick out the outfit she was wearing.

Her fitted blazer had a shawl lapel and was pin stripped. The open neck collared shirt was cotton and white, and her skirt hit her just above the knees. But that was all it had in common with a ‘traditional’ lawyer’s suit. Said blazer was a jewel purple, the collar and pin strips were a deep blue, not quite navy. The skirt was denim but didn’t look like jeans. There were reflective designs throughout the material when it caught the light just so, you could see the paisley pattern. It was surprisingly comfortable, and she looked great in it.

She and Max arrived at The Rest right at 12:30. Evie looked at the cute diner and realized that this could be an important part of her life. Cullen had said that cops would hang out here, she could very well make some great connections, especially with Max’s help. Ah, Cullen. She had good reasons to like this place.

“I didn’t know you were meeting him here?” Evie said to Max. “I have fond memories of this place.”

Then as if thinking about him made him real, there he sat. The gorgeous man who she was meeting with tonight for dinner. He was so sexy. He looked really good in his three-piece suit. Snazzy! Wait, he said he was a cop. He must also be a plainclothes detective.

As she looked around at everyone’s face, she put two and two together. Oh. Well, that was an interesting turn of events. Evie really hoped that Cullen would still be interested, even though he was Max’s superior. He didn’t’ seem to let it bother him, so she would follow his cues. She had to think of it. Max may have mentioned the Chief's name to her before, but if he did she couldn’t remember. She didn’t mention her last name or her brother’s name, but she did give Cullen her card. She also thought it odd that she never mentioned his name to Max after meeting him.

“Did you not look at my card?” She asked him.

“No, actually,” Cullen looked a little sheepish, “I just put it in my wallet, so I wouldn’t lose it.”

“No harm, no foul,” Max said to them both. “It’s only awkward if we let it be, yes?”

“Absolutely.” Evie replied, “Personally I’m glad that I met Cullen first before meeting your boss.” She said to Max with a cheeky smile.

“Why’s that?” Cullen asked her.

“I don’t think you’d be taking me to dinner tonight if you met me through Max.” She looked into his honeyed eyes.

“You’re probably right.” Cullen was rubbing the back of his neck, “Look, about that. . . Now that we know. . .”

“Nope don’t say it, we are still going out.” Evie interrupted him before he could tell her it was a bad idea. It probably was, but she couldn’t find it in her to care. She really liked Cullen. He was hot and sweet and kind. She wanted to get to know him as a man, not as her brother’s boss.

 “I was going to say, that you didn’t have to if you didn’t want to.” Cullen looked at her with a gentle look in his eyes and a soft blush across his cheeks. “But I am now under the impression that you do.” He was smiling at her and that devious scar gave his mouth a smirk that reinforced the amount of charm he had.

“Oh, well good. I very much want to continue to see you. So, let’s just go on with me thinking of you as diner guy and having no idea that you are my brother’s boss.” She didn’t’ want to particularly hear any response to that, so she got up and went to the bar for her lunch.

Maker that could have been a mess, and instead, everyone was great about it. She would keep seeing Cullen and wouldn’t let he relationship with him interfere with her brother’s job. And if that was going to be the priority, then she needed to find a place to stay. It wouldn’t be long before her mother realized what was going on and would have dad cut her off. That was fine, but she was going to milk it as long as she could.

While waiting for lunch she perused her phone for a place to stay. She didn’t see any one-bedroom apartments that she liked. They were either way too much for rent or in a pretty seedy part of town. Maybe she should buy something. She could afford to do that and get a place for her firm. That was her original plan, but she was planning on rooming with Max. If she wanted to become more serious with Cullen, or any guy, that was probably not the best idea.

Maker, how lonely that would be. She really needed to make friends. She briefly glanced over to where Max was talking with Cullen. They were deep in conversation and Max had Cullen laughing. He looked up at her as if he felt her gaze on him. His smile was brilliant, and she could only smile back and take a deep breath. Cullen must have noticed her reaction and his smile turned into a full-blown smirk. He looked back toward Max almost immediately but just that much of his attention aroused her enough to gather moisture in her core. Shit, she was in trouble.

Nope, not rooming with Max. Maybe Dorian.

12:46 PM Evie: Hey you there luv?

12:46 PM Dorian: For you darling, always.

12:46 PM Dorian: What is it that I can do for you?

12:47 PM Evie: Were you planning on staying with Felix?

12:47 PM Dorian: That’s an odd question, you dropped me off here on your way to the meeting.

12:47 PM Dorian: Wait are you texting while Max is talking with his new boss?

12:47 PM Dorian: Not very supportive you naughty girl.

12:48 PM Evie: I will have to tell you about that later. LOL

12:48 PM Evie: Besides I meant to live for the foreseeable future.

12:48 PM Dorian: With Felix, I had planned on it. Why?

12:48 PM Evie: Just looking at housing and thinking I may want a roommate.

12:49 PM Dorian: That would be delightful, I am sure. But I really do need to stay with Felix as long as he is well.

12:49 PM Evie: I respect that. No problem.

12:49 PM Dorian: Wouldn’t Max stay with you?

12:49 PM Evie: That was the original plan . . . But now . . . I’ll tell you later. In person.

12:50 PM Dorian: Ooh, is it as devious as you make it sound?

12:50 PM Evie: More

12:50 PM Evie: Talk to you later. Max and Cullen should be finished in under an hour. See you then.

12:50 PM Dorian: You are such a tease. See you later darling.

Evie put her phone down to eat some of her lunch. She weighed her options. She could look at the roommate wanted ads, but the idea of being in someone else’s space did not appeal to her. She could get a crappy apartment temporarily or she could purchase a house anyway and hope to find a roommate soon. Perhaps when she finds other lawyers to join her. That sounded like a great option. That decided she started looking at the ads.

She was so absorbed in the house hunt, she didn’t notice when the two men came to stand beside her until Max flicked her on the ear.

“What are you so absorbed in, princess?” He asked her.

“Looking at houses. In the area.” She looked at Max to tell him and felt Cullen at her back. She looked toward him, and he was close. So, she leaned back into him and rested her head on his chest. It felt so good. Like she belonged there. After only a moments hesitation, Cullen put his hand on her shoulder and let his finger glide along the edge of her jaw. He seemed more comfortable with her that he had yesterday, and she wondered what exactly the two men had been discussing.

“You’re not even going to wait until I know it’s official before you start looking to settle down?” Max asked, his voice teasing. He wasn’t the only Trevelyan who could tease. Evie looked up at Cullen and said.

“At this point, I’m moving here regardless.” The only reaction from the man that she was leaning against was a large intake of breath and another sexy smile.

Max started laughing. Then once again they were all laughing loud enough to attract the attention of the other patrons.

“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Max led them to the door and Cullen let his fingers brush against Evie’s in invitation. She took the invitation and let her fingers intertwine with his. She must have looked like a smiling fool, but a tiny glance out of the corner of her eye said that she wasn’t the only one.

“Obviously, you have to know that I invited Max to join my team?” Cullen asked her as they walked toward his precinct.

“I knew that before meeting you.” She looked at him with surety in her face. “Max is amazing, and you would be a fool not to want him. As you are no fool . . . It was an obvious deduction.” She was teasing, but Max took it seriously.

“You’re right, he is no fool. Because he wants me on his team and you on his lap.” He started laughing. So maybe not so seriously. Evie looked at Cullen, unsurprised to see the blush blossoming across his face.

“Detective Trevelyan, you may sass me about most things, you can make fun of my clothes or my car or anything of the like, but you will not sass me about the lady I am seeing. Regardless of her relation to you. I will not put up with it.” Cullen managed to surprise both of the Trevelyans, his face was stern. It was his Chief of Police face, Evie was sure. Neither of them spoke for about four steps. “At least, not while we are working.” He added with a smile.

That got the three of them chuckling again. It wasn’t the full-blown laughter that they experienced in the diner, but it was comfortable. It seems that Cullen found the perfect way to let Max know how things were. He didn’t want to keep Evie a secret, but he couldn’t do with having her brother teasing him about it in front of his team.

They walked in comfortable silence to the station. It was a beautiful red brick building that had seen its time downtown for a while. When they got to the door, Evie wasn’t sure what to do. Was Max going to go inside, should she too? Could she give Cullen a peck on the cheek or was that taboo. Damn it, she was usually surer of herself, but Cullen’s position gave her pause.

“Now you can see why I frequent the diner so often,” Cullen said to them. “It is close to work and only three blocks away from my apartment.” Evie didn’t know why but for some reason that statement made her want to blush. She stopped it, but only just. Then he looked at her, his eyes the color of good whiskey. “I will see you, tonight.” Then he leaned over slightly and gave her the most chaste of kisses. It landed half on her lips and half on her cheek. Like he wanted to kiss her fully but was being safe. It was sweet and warm. Desire pulsed through her blood. It had her wet with want.

Evie had too many close encounters recently without any relief. She was going to blow soon if something didn’t happen. Max and she walked about half a block to meet their car. He was strangely silent up until they got in it.

“Well, that was unexpected.” Was all he said.

“I know right. I’m glad you’re not warning me away or anything.” Evie told him. Not that she would listen to him even if he did.

“Cullen is a good man and a good cop. He wants good things for his precinct, genuinely. There is no better recommendation that I could give.” The sincerity in his voice didn’t match the sparkle in his eye. “Besides, you wouldn’t have listened to me anyway.”

Soon they were both laughing, Evie leaned on his shoulder. “I love you, Max. I am so glad you had this crazy idea to move here.”

“I love you too princess. You are the best part of my life.”

“Not for long I think.” Evie looked at him quickly enough to see the stupid grin on his face. Dorian would make Max so happy. As long as he got over his own issues. They would just have to wait and see.

“Yeah, not for long.” His smile faltered, “As long as I don’t screw it up.”

“Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened. There are enough other things to worry about.”

“Of course you’re right, princess.” Max sighed before asking her, “What should I worry about?”

“You should start looking for a place to stay.”

“What?” He was bemused. “I thought we were going to live together.”

“Initially I thought so too, but could you imagine me dating your boss when we lived together.” Evie’s tone of voice begged him to understand.

“Hmph. I guess your right.” Max was probably thinking about his options. “Do you think it’s too early to live with Dorian?” He asked, his mischievous grin firmly back in place.

“Yes, besides he wants to live with Felix while he still feels okay.”

“How do you know that?”

“I already asked if he wanted to be a roommate.” She grinned stupidly at her brother. He just flicked her in the arm, hard, as a response. “Ow,” she rubbed her arm, “you jerk. You haven’t done that to me since we were kids.”

“I guess it was about time then.” Then in all seriousness, “Do you think we should be tested?”

“Tested for what?” Evie was perplexed.

“To see if one of us could be a match for Felix.”

“That was out of the blue. Besides if one of us were a match, wouldn’t both of us?”

“I’m not sure, you’re the one who wanted to be a doctor.”

“Hah, you’re so funny.” Evie thought about it. “Yeah, I would do that for Felix. Besides, before my firm is open would be a better time than after. What about you, would you risk your new job for him?”

They pulled up to Felix’s family home, Max stared at it and replied. “Not for Felix, but for Dorian? Yeah, I would do a lot for him.”

Chapter Text

Max was entirely serious. It was only a few days, but if he wasn’t in love with Dorian, he very soon would be. There was a lot to think about. Chances are there is no way he would match for Felix’s kidney, but it never hurt to try. It would at least give a little hope to a great person who also happened to be his lovers best friend. One thing was for sure though, he needed to figure out what Dorian was running from before they were officially together. Max knew that he was serious for Dorian, but unless he knew what happened in his past, how could they move forward together in the future. Dorian could keep it close for as long as he needed to feel comfortable. Max would wait for him. Just thinking of the man made him smile.

He thought about his eyes and the way the reflected the light. The color was unique, soft grey with undertones of lilacs and spring skies, purely Dorian. His smile was mischievous, it exuded sex appeal with a hint of danger. Then there was his skin. He was like a bronzed god. Max had learned that Dorian used a body lotion with a small amount of shimmer in it. As he moved, the light that reflected so subtly in his eyes, refracted in full force on his skin. Every ripple of toned muscle, every gesture of his face, caught the luminosity in full force. Max wouldn’t be surprised if he left a bevy of men and women alike pining for him in his homeland. He saw how people stared at him, even though Dorian seemed to be mostly oblivious.

Oh, if you asked him, Dorian would be the first to tell you how much he was a gift from the maker to all the men of Thedas, but he didn’t really believe it. He knew he was pretty, but he didn’t know that he was so much more than what was on the surface. He was brilliant and an amazing conversationalist. He was quick to laugh and to make others laugh. Dorian was also amazing in bed but just timid enough to be adorable. He felt deeply. He could see it with Felix and his father, he could see it with Evie. He knew Evie was easy to love. Everyone worthwhile loved her. He saw it with himself too. They formed a fast friendship that was turning to something more for both of them.

Also, as they got to know each other, Max learned a very crucial thing. Dorian didn’t give one fuck what people thought of him. He owned himself, you liked him, or you didn’t. He didn’t care either way. If you didn’t like him, it was your loss. He would spend no time or energy worrying about what other people thought. He was so wonderful, but he still focused on his physical attributes like that was all he had. Max wondered vaguely who it was that put those thoughts in his head. It didn’t really matter because Dorian was everything Max could have hoped for in a man. And he was going to be the one to help undo that toxic thinking.

As they walked up to the house, the very man in his thoughts came to greet them. He was met with a searing kiss. It was like he was gone for days instead of just hours. Damn, there wasn’t much Max wouldn’t do for this man.

“Well, darling. You promised you would tell me what all the drama was, so you best get to it.” He told Evie as they walked through to the living room to sit with Felix.

The outing yesterday had tired him, and he was resting on the chaise. “Yes, Evie. All Dorian would tell me was that Max couldn’t live with you and you would tell us the drama when you got here.” Felix said to his sister.

Max listened as Evie told them what had happened at the Diner. What she didn’t know was that Cullen asked for permission to date her. Kind of.  He told him in no uncertain terms that he really liked her and wanted to see her. Cullen also told him if that were to become a problem with him that he would refer Max to another precinct.

It had taken him back. Evie’s description of ‘diner guy’ had seemed so unsure, but Cullen Rutherford was anything but. That’s what made Max so sure of him. He wasn’t the charming womanizer or the dumb jock. He was neither the kind of guy who would flit from woman to woman or someone who wouldn’t trail someone along without committing. He was a good man. Max asked him what it was he wanted from him. All Cullen said was that discretion was the better part of valor, and one needed to know when to exercise it.

Then there was the comment later that had both he and Evie laughing. Cullen could tease and be teased, but only if the situation and company were right. Max knew he would be an amazing chief and a great potential partner to his sister. But he thought the same thing of Bull.

Max didn’t know what to think of that situation. He had such high hopes for Bull and Evie, but it seems that for Bull, his work came first. He could think of no other logical reason that Bull wouldn’t be talking to Evie. He desperately wanted to ask him, but he really didn’t want to intrude on their relationship. But . . . he could contact him as a friend. He took a brief glance at the other occupants in the room. They were busy laughing at Evie’s story and were distracted.

2:27 PM Max: How’s it going in Ostwick?

There wasn’t an answer right away. Max knew there wouldn’t be. Bull never was one to look at his phone as soon as it pinged. He started listening to the conversation around him again at the sound of his name.

“So now Max needs to find someone to room with.” Evie told the other two men.

“He could stay here.” Felix volunteered, and both Dorian and he looked at him in surprise.

“You barely know me. Why would you ask meet to stay here?” Max asked the man.

“Maybe I want more company, maybe I like you, maybe I want to bug my father. But maybe, just maybe, you make my truest friend happy and I love seeing that.” Felix didn’t look him in the eye as he said it, but Max caught the slight flush on Dorians face. “Honestly, I would put you on the other side of the house. I do want Dorian to myself a little. At least while I am well enough to enjoy the company.”

“Felix, I don’t know what to say.” Dorian was getting a little emotional, and Max saw that as a good sign.

“That’s got to be a first.” Evie teased him and changed the sensitive mood. “Dorian, without a thing to say.”

“Darling, I could say many things. The least of which is that we may keep his father up all night.”

“Okay, that’s enough of that. I don’t want to hear it. La, la, la, la, la.” Felix playfully put his fingers in his ears. “But in all seriousness. You are very welcome to stay here.”

Max considered it. He wanted to be close to Dorian, but it might be too much too soon. He really didn’t know. He had never felt this way about anyone. He looked to Evie to see if she had an answer for him.

“It’s your choice babe. Don’t look at me.” She said to him. He stuck his tongue out at her like a juvenile. She giggled. He needed to talk to Dorian about it.

“Honestly, I have to think about it. I don’t want Dorian to get sick of me.” He teased, “but thank you so much for the offer. It means a lot.”

“I don’t think I’d get sick of you anytime soon lover.” Dorian was smirking at him now. One side of his mouth reaching up toward the sexy mole next to his eye. Damn that man is fine.

“Oh, I don’t know. You haven’t lived with me yet.” Max was grinning back at him. “I leave the toilet seat up.” That made him laugh.

“Uh, and why would that be a problem?” His chuckle turned into full-blown laughter. Soon everyone was joining in.

“If you really want to know all of Max’s awful habits, I will be more than happy to list them for you.” Evie teased.

“I may take you up on that darling.”

“Can you read shorthand?” Evie asked his lover.

“Yes, why?”

“I’ll use less paper that way.” Evie tossed a couch pillow at Max’ head.

“Now, now children, not in the living room.” Gereon said as he came in to join the group. Max looked at Felix’s father and wondered if he ever slept. He had dark circles under his eyes and worry lines on his forehead.

2:30 PM Bull: I’m tired of this shit.

2:30 PM Max: That sucks. When do you think you’ll be back?

2:30 PM Max: BTW, it’s all official. I’m now a permanent fixture in Skyhold.

“And how are you doing today, Mr. Alexius?” Evie asked the older man. “I don’t mean to be rude, but you don’t look like you’re getting much sleep.”

“I’m all right my dear. I don’t sleep well as of late.” He told her. Both Dorian and Felix were looking closer at him. “And please, you must call me Gereon.” His smile changed the way he looked. He looked fresher, younger, and Max could see more of the similarities between him and his son. “I don’t believe I thanked you for taking Felix out yesterday my dear. I believe he needed to feel like a young man again.”

“Of course, Gereon. I was glad to do it and he makes excellent company.”

“As do you, Evie. I am truly glad for Felix and Dorian to have more friends they are so important.” Gereon looked over at his son, the pain and fear naked in his face. “Which is why you are most welcome to stay here for as long as you need to Max.” He turned his eyes to Max, “it really is fine. We have many rooms and my research assistant, Fiona, has a room here for when our work keeps us up late.”

“That is very generous of you sir.” Max was overawed at the welcome. He really didn’t know what to think of the man who was Felix’s father. It was easy to see that he loved his son and that his son loved him. He had never had that, never thought he wanted it. But seeing it, made him wonder. “I would appreciate it. We have the hotel for another week, and I will have to make arrangements to get my things put in storage, so it really is a load off. Thank you.”

2:36 PM Bull: Tomorrow afternoon

2:36 PM Bull: Great

2:37 PM Max: Good, we will have to get together as soon as your back. Need a ride from the airport?

“So, Gereon?” Evie walked over to sit next to Max and grabbed his hand.

“Yes, my dear?”

“What would we have to do to get tested if we were a match for Felix?”

The room was full of shock and surprise? Felix’s eyes were wide with disbelief, Dorian's mouth had parted and as Max looked into his eyes with a soft smile, his eyes misted. He understood. Max saw it in an instant that Dorian knew why Max was willing to do it.  

“Why? You two barely even know me, why would you do something so dramatic for an almost stranger.” Felix did not see what Dorian saw, and Evie had the perfect answer.

“Because it’s the right thing to do, and I can.”

Gereon seemed to be the first to fully recover. “This is wonderful. First a simple blood test, then we can go on from there.”

“If it helps, I know my blood type already.” Max told him. He needed it on his records for work, it was a very simple test. “Do you know yours, Evie?”

“I do, but I imagine you’ll want to prick us both anyway.” Evie smiled at the man.

“It is good to be sure.”

Dorian and Felix were talking between themselves quietly. It was unusual, but Felix didn’t look happy about the whole exchange. Max speculated it was guilt. That was okay. After the blood tests, he would go talk with him.

Gereon came back with a little kit that was full of small foils, little plastic tubes, tiny packages of even tinier stick things, alcohol wipes, and cotton balls. Max didn’t know what any of it was except the last two. But it seemed Evie did.

“Would you like me to get some warm water and start setting up the cards?” She asked Gereon.

“Yes, thank you, my dear.” He told her as he started laying out the supplies.

“How do you know about this?” Max asked her when she came back from the kitchen with a glass.

“Mom and Beth wanted to do this health nut diet for your blood type and so the whole family had to get our blood typed. I volunteered to do it all at home rather than bring in the doctor. Mom only let me do it at home rather than call in the doctor because Beth wined about not wanting to wait for the doctor.”

“Interesting. How did the diet go?” Max asked grinning. “Did the ladies lose their 2 vanity pounds?”

“It’s not that kind of diet. It’s for health, not weight loss. It was actually pretty awesome. I still keep to most of it. I have more energy when I avoid certain foods.” Evie told him.

Max watched her as she opened two of the foil packets up and dropped water into the little circles. Then she took an alcohol wipe to her finger and held one of the little tube things to it and pressed. Just like that, a little drop of blood started to well up. Max stopped watching her as Gereon grabbed a tube thingy and cleaned Max’s finger.

The prick surprised him, and he yelped, very undignified.

“Don’t worry, I’ll kiss it better luv.” Dorian was laughing at him, but at least Felix didn’t look grumpy anymore.

Gereon had gathered a drop of blood on a little stick one at a time and swirled it in the water on the circles on the card.

Evie was done with her card thingy and came over to check out Max’s.

“Oh, Maker!” She gasped. Max looked at her, she was as white as a sheet and her eyes were huge.

“Evie, what is it? What’s wrong princess?” Max tried to reach out to hold her. She backed away from him. What the void? “Evie sweetheart, I love you what is it?” She stood there shaking her head, she had her eyes tightly closed now. Max looked up to Dorian who had rushed over and he shrugged his shoulders.

“Evie, darling. What is it?” He cooed to her and she clung to him and started to cry. “What happened with your brother's test?” She just sobbed louder, then lifted her face off Dorian's shoulder and whispered. It was so soft neither of them heard her. “I couldn’t hear you, sweetheart. What is it?” Loud enough to project through the whole room, but still a whisper, Evie answered in a cold voice.

“He’s not my brother!”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Evie was laughing to herself when Max squeaked as the lancet poked him. She rolled her eyes as she walked over to see the results of his test. Ironically the family member she was closest to, was the only one whose blood type she didn’t know. She looked down at the Eldon card on the table in front of her brother. She looked up at Gereon, he had a big smile on his face. She looked back at the card. She had a great memory, she knew what it meant, but she had to look at the guide to make sure. She glanced at it and it confirmed everything.

Father was O; mother was A; she was A; but Max, he was AB-.

Maker, Maker, Andraste save me. Was all she could think. Damn her mother, damn her to the void.

Evie looked at Max, she knew he was talking but couldn’t hear anything he said. He reached out to her and she reacted like he was a stranger. She backed out of his range. She didn’t really mean to, she loved him, she did. She was just hurt and confused. When she saw the hurt look on his face she closed her eyes. When Dorian pulled her into his arms she let him. She cried, she felt the loss. Max wasn’t her brother. She tried to tell Dorian, but she couldn’t get it out. She just cried harder.

Finally, the words came out.

“He’s not my brother.”

Evie was confused at her own reaction. She loved Max, and what she said wasn’t true. He was her half-brother. That stupid bitch. That selfish cunt. She wasn’t sad anymore. She was angry. Angry at the lies, angry at her first reaction. Dorian must have felt her stiffen in his arms because he let her go.

Evie ran to Max and flung herself at him.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I don’t mean it. I love you. I love you.” Evie was crying again. Not from loss but still from pain. When you hurt someone you love, it cuts both ways.

“Shh, shh princess. It’s okay.” Max hugged her and rubbed her back. When she had calmed down enough to stop shaking he pushed her from his arms and looked at her in the eye. “Now, tell us what happened.”

“I told you that I did blood type tests on the whole family.” Max nodded. “Well, it was really fascinating so I started researching it.” Max smiled.

“Why am I not surprised.”

“Mothers is A and Father is O.” She told him, “But you are AB-.” She willed him to understand. He didn’t but by the sharp inhale next to her, Gereon did. She sighed, “My father is not your father. It isn’t possible.”

The look on his face said it all. His eyes flipped through emotions like a deck of cards. Hurt, anger betrayal, anguish. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. He ripped the holder out of his hair and fisted it, he was pacing now. Only a few steps, he still had his eyes closed. This is his way of processing.

Evie watched as he came to his conclusion. He stopped pacing then released his hair and eased his hand down to his side. Evie watched with Dorian as he opened his eyes and looked at them. She was confused by the emotion on his face. His eyes glinted, but not with malice. It was humor.

“Hah, I’m not a Trevelyan.” He started laughing almost manically. Then he started cheering. “I’m not related to that bastard, I’m not related to him. He isn’t my father.”

Evie was so confused by his reaction that she didn’t see him race toward her. She let out a very girlie squeal when he picked her up. “Don’t you see Evie, I am still your brother, but I am not a Trevelyan. I’m not the son of a heartless bastard, only the son of a heartless bitch.” He was grinning, and it was so contagious that Evie started grinning back at him.

They would figure it all out, it really didn’t matter. They started laughing and when everyone in the room was smiling, Gereon made the announcement.

“Felix is also AB.” His eyes were alight with hope.

“That’s fantastic.” Max’s joy carried over to this good news. He went to Felix and grabbed his hands. “This is great!” Then he turned and looked toward Gereon. “So, what’s next?”

“Next is the tissue typing.” Gereon was so happy, “I haven’t gotten this far in months. AB is a very rare blood type and you have to be AB or AB- to be considered as a donor.” Everyone could tell how happy Gereon was, but the person who should have been happy or excited was schooling his features very carefully.

“What do you think of all this Felix?” Evie asked him.

“I’m really not sure.” Felix was being honest which was good. “I don’t want to hope, but at the same time, I do. I also am so confused on why you would try to match me?”

“I already told you,” Evie reminded him, “it’s the right thing to do.”

“I can believe that of you Evie, I really can.” Felix was bewildered, “but I really don’t know why your brother would do this. He isn’t the giver you are, so as grateful as I am, I am so confused that I can’t make sense of my emotions at the moment.”

Everyone was quiet. All the people in the room seemed to wonder at the same question. It was obvious by the look on her face that Evie knew the answer to that question, and of course, Max knew the answer to the question. But, they were both hesitant to say anything. Then the silence was broken.

“It’s me, isn’t it?” Dorian asked. He looked at both of the Trevelyan’s and the looks on their faces mirrored each other in the truth. “You don’t have to say it, I see it.” Dorian slowly walked up to Max, the amazement clear in his face. “But I don’t understand it.”

He was unsure and puzzled. Max wanted to wipe the insecure expression away never to be seen again. It was at that moment that he truly realized.

“Oh, maker,” the shock was surely present in his tone, “It’s because I love you.”

If everyone had thought it silent before, it was only because they did not have this silence to compare it to.  Max looked into Dorian's eyes, he saw bewilderment, anguish, hope, and pride. But what hurt the most, was that he saw disbelief.

Max released Felix and rushed to the bronzed god before him and took him in his arms. What he had to say was for his ears only, but it didn’t stop Evie from hearing. It was a whisper, a breath on his ear, but what Max said to him then, would sear his soul into the void itself.

“Dorian, love. I have known you for only days. But if I had prayed to the maker for years, he couldn’t send me someone as perfect for me as you. That isn’t to say you don’t have flaws because we both know you do, but I love you. I love you enough to offer pieces of myself to make you happy. That is what this is. I want you to be happy, and I offer a piece of myself to your best friend, knowing that I could make a difference in whether he lives or dies. I can do that, and you can’t. So, I will do it for you.”

It was obvious to everyone watching the exchange that something important happened because no sooner than Max took a breath, Dorian was taking it away.

He launched himself to his mouth. He was feasting at it like a man starving. Perhaps Dorian wasn’t starving for food or even physical attention, but until this very moment, he had been starving for love.

She walked away and let them have this moment. She had known how Max felt, even if he didn’t. It was possible to fall in love this quickly, just not likely. Evie wondered what the days ahead held for the man she loved most and the one he did too. She couldn’t worry about it too much, what happened would happen. She would let it, and she vowed to Andraste that she wouldn’t interfere unless it was needed.

That was an okay vow, right? Surly Andraste would understand, her issues with love notwithstanding. Right now, Evie wanted to think about what this revelation meant with her and her mother. Should she bring it up now? Or wait until the opportune time. If her law skills meant anything, she knew there was a time and a place for everything. For now, she would wait. Something in her subconscious was telling her that there would be a moment where this information would make a difference.

Besides, there were more important things to concentrate on. She had a date with Cullen and she wanted it to go well. She thought about the blonde man that came into her life so suddenly. She just met the man and she never had someone permeate her thoughts so fully. Well, except for Bull. That was a man who confused her. When they were face to face, he talked to her like he wanted her. He seemed to want her for more than a fling. He talked to her like he wanted to be with her. But now, he was so distant. It made her wonder about her ability to read people.

She wouldn’t wait for him. If she had learned anything in her life, it was that you don’t wait for moments to happen, you made them happen. And tonight, it was all about Cullen.

Evie went to Felix. He was astounded that people could care for him, or care about others that through them, people cared for him.

“This was fast wasn’t it?” She asked him. She watched as Felix looked over to Max and Dorian.

“Yeah, it was fast.” He stated, “but I never have known anyone more deserving than Dorian. Right now it is about him.” Felix looked at her. “If it means Max is a match for me that is wonderful. But, seeing the way your brother loves him, if I don’t live another month, it’s enough.”

Evie was sad for him. She wondered what could she possibly do to help him. He was a good man, an honest man, so caring. If she didn’t already have two men on her plate that she wondered about, she might be able to develop feelings for him. He was so deserving. Right now though, seeing how happy he was for his friend. It was enough. But she couldn’t help herself.

“What happened with his family?” It was out of her mouth before she could stop it. “Dorian is so amazing, and you know I have issues with my own family.” Felix snorted at that. “But he is so hurt, I can tell every time I look at him.”

“That is for him to say, not for me.” Evie knew that was the case, she did, but at the same time, she didn’t’ want anything she didn’t know to bite her in the arse.

“I know it is, I want him to talk to someone, and I want that someone to be me. If it isn’t, I will deal with that. But I guess what I am asking is, will he be able to love someone in return?”

Evie saw the look in Felix’s eyes. He was thinking almost audibly. But before he could say anything the answer came from someone else entirely.

“I don’t know that he knows what real love is? He has never seen it. Not from his family and not from any past lovers.” Gereon was also looking at the two men. “I was raised the same way Dorian was, you are bred to create the perfect specimen. I was lucky, I fell in love with my wife.” He seemed so sad for a moment then his eyes lit up. “Though I was parted from her too soon, I was lucky enough to have a son that I could love with every breath, and through him, I gained a second son.” His eyes were all on Dorian now. “To see both of them happy, that is all a parent could truly ask for their children. Dorian is unique in Tevinter, he was punished for his difference, but it has only made him a stronger person. I would not change him for all the influence, or all the gold of Tevinter. Unfortunately, his father is not of the same mind.”

Evie looked at the older man and knew that was all she would get from him. “Thank you.”

“For what, my dear?” He was genuinely puzzled.

“For caring about Dorian not in spite of his flaws, but because of them.” She told him. “I know it would be easy to ignore, I know that you don’t have to care for him, but you do. Because he is your family, and he is in love with mine, I guess that means we’re family too.”

Gereon hugged her, Felix hugged her, the two other men in the room saw it and came to hug her too.

“I love you, little sister.” Max told her. “It isn’t a matter of the blood, it is a matter of the heart. And this heart will love you and want what’s best for you until it stops beating.”

“Stop it, Amatus, you will make her red-eyed before her date.” Dorian scolded him unserious. Evie looked at him with the same intensity as Felix and Gereon. “Hush, it’s true.”

At that, Evie did get misty eyed. The other Tevene men just had glowing smiles.

“I feel like I’m missing something.” Max said.

“You are, but I will tell you later,” Dorian told him. “There are other things more pressing now.”

Max took him at his word and nodded. “Yes, like Evie's date with my superior.”

“You may answer to him, but I wouldn’t call him you're superior.” Dorian chuckled.

Evie laughed as well, but still was able to notice Max looking at his phone intently.

“You go back to the hotel and get ready princess. I’ll stay here tonight.”

She wasn’t going to argue with that, but she was still curious as to who Max was texting so intently.

“Okay, I will. I would say don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, but I am pretty sure I would do exactly what you are planning.” She told him with a grin. “I’ll get a carriage, and wait for Cullen.” Evie went around the room and gave cheek kisses to all of the men in it.

She thought it was amazing how quickly they all maneuvered their way into her heart. On the tail end of that, she thought how lucky she was that they had.

Chapter Text

Evie was getting ready at the hotel. She didn’t know what they were going to be doing, but she was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be anything dressy. She looked through the closet and realized that if she wasn’t going to go home again, she would have to do shopping more serious than she did yesterday. Come to think of it, if she were going to get a house, she would have to get everything. She had never fully stocked a house before. Maybe it would be fun.

Max had done it, he might help her. Or maybe on a good day, she could take Felix out again. Though she could see that tiring the man out. First things first, she had to find a place. Evie started thinking of what she wanted in a house as she got dressed.

She wanted something comfortable, not too big, but with room for several people to occupy and still have their own space. She thought that she would eventually room with some of the other lawyers who would eventually work for her firm. So, three bedrooms and either a large communal office or two smaller ones. Hmmm, that might not be possible. Maybe if she found a place with a formal dining room, she could make that into an office with three desks. In her dreams, there would be three bathrooms, but that isn’t really normal is it?

Evie didn’t relish the thought of living alone but she wasn’t sure she would be able to share a space with strangers. What if she hated them, what if an issue at home became an issue at work or vice versa? She really might have to re-think the whole thing.

She pulled on some comfy jeggings and a jewel blue off the shoulder cashmere top. It had a large folded collar and hugged her curves in all the right places. She had enough meat on her that you could see the indentations where her bra sat, and she debated changing. Fuck it, she knew who she was, and it was not a person so caught up in her body that she didn’t enjoy life. Though she could wear a tank top underneath if she really wanted to.

Evie vamped up her makeup from earlier, adding some darker shadow and heavier eyeliner. She was ready to go and still had about a half hour so Evie decided to peruse through the real estate sites some more. There were some cute places, but she felt that she would need help from someone who knew the city better than she did. Maybe she would ask Cullen if he knew a realtor. She needed to find a space for the offices too and she would want them to be close to each other if at all possible.

6:12 PM Beth: Seriously girl, are you going to update me or what?

6:12 PM Evie: What has the family said?

6:12 PM Beth: Mom is going on about how she is worried about Max’s influence on you.

6:12 PM Beth: She says she is reserving judgment depending on what you do next. She said this was a short trip on the way to Orlais.

6:13 PM Beth: But I’m not really buying it. What’s up?

6:13 PM Evie: If I trust you and tell you . . .

6:13 PM Beth: I won’t tell a soul. I promise.

6:14 PM Evie: If you do, I will never be able to trust you again. Do you understand that?

6:15 PM Beth: I know you have no reason to trust me, but I want you to, so I will give you a reason, and let you know what brought this on.

6:15 PM Beth: Can you call me?

Evie desperately wanted to trust her sister. To be able to have a relationship with her would be amazing. Should she call her?

6:16 PM Evie: I have a date in ten minutes. I would love to call you later though.

6:16 PM Beth: I thought Bull was still here in Ostwick?

6:17 PM Evie: He is. It’s with someone else.

6:17 PM Beth: What? Why?

6:18 PM Evie: Bull stopped talking to me.

6:18 PM Beth: That’s weird.

6:18 PM Beth: Don’t do anything you’ll regret.

There was a knock on the door. Evie guessed that Cullen was early.

6:19 PM Evie: I won’t, he’s here and I promise to call you later.

6:19 PM Beth: I’ll hold you to that.

Evie looked out the peephole to see an obviously nervous Cullen rubbing the back of his neck. Damn, he looked delicious.

She opened the door and wasn’t disappointed. He was wearing a chocolate-colored suede jacket over a lavender button-up shirt which made amazing things happen with his eyes. He was wearing what looked like a well-loved pair of jeans that were distressed in all the right places. Damn, he was fine.

“Wow, you look amazing.” She told him.

“Thank you, you look. . . um . . . well. . . really good.”

For some reason, his reaction made her blush. She didn’t know why, she has had many compliments before, but Cullen was so genuine and a little shy. It made her feel it more acutely than she would have in the past.

“Come in, let me get a jacket.” Evie invited him into the room. As she closed the door behind him, the temperature shot up, but she knew it was only her reaction to his proximity.

“Damn,” Cullen remarked, “I think this hotel room is bigger than my apartment.” Evie looked around at the room. She knew she grew up different from most people, but she didn’t want that to intimidate the man.

“Yeah, my parents will expect me to stay in places like this until I go back to Ostwick. They paid for it.”

“I thought you weren’t going back to Ostwick?” Cullen asked her almost frantically.

“I’m not, but they don’t know that yet, and I want to keep it that way for as long as I can. I just don’t want to deal with my family for a while.”

“Tell me about them?” Cullen asked her as she put on her favorite coat. It was a lightweight purple leather jacket that fit perfectly tight around her chest and flared slightly at her hip to hit her at mid-thigh.

Evie told him almost everything. The way she was raised, their expectations for her, and the relationship she had with her parents. She didn’t want to think about how that was going to soon change so she told Cullen about the perilous association she had with Ronald and the new blooming connection she had with Hesbeth. The change in her sister still made her wonder and she told him as much as Cullen drove to their destination.

“You should ask her.” He said.

“Just like that?”

“Yes, just like that.” He glanced at her briefly, “If she wants to reinsert herself in your life for whatever reason, one of you is going to have to trust and make the first step.”

“I know that. It’s just things are so strange. I knew the status quo, I was used to it, to her. I guess I don’t trust why suddenly she wants to change it.”

“Will knowing why make things better?” He asked her. Evie was grateful for the insight. She was too close to the situation and Max didn’t have any better handle on it either. The last person who gave her good insight was Bull, and he hadn’t contacted her since telling her that he would let her know if he needed a ride from the airport. She hadn’t reached out to him either, but she was the one who had made every other attempt at connection, so that was moot.

“I think so, I think it will make me trust her intentions.” Was her answer.

“Then be honest with her and see if she is honest with you in turn.”

“That makes sense.” Evie placed her hand on Cullen’s thigh as he drove and felt his muscle twitch at the contact. “Thank you.”

“For what?” He seemed genuinely unaware.

“There are very few people who I could talk to about this, and I don’t know if any of them would be as insightful as you. I appreciate it.”

“Oh, um, you’re welcome.” Evie could see Cullen’s face color. He was so damned attractive, and she loved how unaware of it he was.

“So where are we going?” She was ready to change topics of conversation.

“That is a surprise,” He said mischievously. “And not.”

“What does that mean?” Evie laughed. He laughed back, his chuckle was sweet and spicy. It was like warm nutmeg sauce over custard bread pudding. She shivered.

“Are you cold?” He asked her.

“No.” What did she say? Did she tell him, his voice just did things to her? That she wanted to roll in his laugh like an animal rolled in a good scent? No, but she wanted him to know that he affected her. “Your laugh gives me goosebumps.”

They were at a red light, and the look he gave her would have boiled water. He knew what lay unspoken, he knew that her body was reacting to him. That one look said it all. He knew what he did to her and he knew what he could do to her. He reached his callused hand to gently trace the curve of her jaw, they were both lost in the moment and would have stayed in it, but the car behind them had other ideas.

The loud honk broke the moment and Cullen continued to their destination. The sexual tension was there, it was building, and Evie couldn’t wait until their moment. It would be like a dam bursting, a release so powerful that the whole of Fereldan would feel it.

Evie drew random patterns on Cullen’s leg until he picked her hand up and gently kissed her fingertips. “You are heartily distracting.” He placed her hand back on his thigh, but lower than it had been tracing before. His hand lay over hers for a moment, then with the briefest press of his own, he released her to put his hand back on the steering wheel. “And I am driving. It is not the time to be distracted.”

“I don’t know if I should apologize or not.” She told him, her voice breathy with desire.

“You shouldn’t, this time.” He grinned at her, the scar pulling his smile into a lusty smirk. “I like knowing how much you want to touch me. And I look forward to it.”

Evie looked forward to it too, but if the small amount of time she had known Cullen told her anything, it was that he was patient and would want to wait. At least until their second date.

Cullen had been right, it was not a surprise, but when they walked into The Rest, it was. The whole place seemed transformed. There were couples, college kids, and a myriad of cops. All there to have a good time and have a few drinks.

“What are you doing here Chief, thought you had a big date tonight and wouldn’t be down here?” From one of the officers.

“Yeah, were you just making things up to avoid my introduction to my cousin?” From another, “She is a sweet girl and I think you would like her.”

Evie didn’t know what to think, obviously none of the other men thought she was there with Cullen.

“Sod off you layabouts.” Was Cullen’s only response. He was leaving the introduction up to her.

“Good evening gentlemen,” She purred, she could give it as well as they could and was anxious to not only surprise them but to put them in their place. She cleaned up well, knew she was attractive and could flirt like the best seductress in Thedas. “My name is Evie,” she slowly took off her jacket, pantomiming the action of taking off more, “I’m the big date.” She gave her coat to Cullen like she owned him and ran her hands down her sweater to ‘smooth it out.’ She ran her fingers through her hair, tugging a bit at the ends and pouted, “sorry to disappoint.”

The reaction from Cullen’s men had her feeling very good indeed. A mouth dropped there, a lascivious grin here; she loved the knowledge that other men wanted her that could never have her. Maybe that made her a bad person, but mostly it meant she was a horrible flirt. Cullen laughed.

“Now why would a woman like you be here with a boy like him?” From one of them. He was playing, obviously one of the younger of the group.

Evie swayed her way over to him and whispered in his ear loud enough for them all to hear, “Boys have more . . .” she paused as if looking for the word she knew she would say all along, “stamina.” Someone howled. It was the good-natured teasing that you could only give your boss if you had both a level of respect and trust in.

“What are you drinking cheri?” From an Orleasian officer. “Can I get you a cosmo?”

“Now mon petit garçon, pensez-vous vraiment que je suis ce genre de fille?” (Now my little boy, do you really think I am that kind of girl?) She then turned to Cullen, “Mon amant doré, tu me donnerais un whisky?” (My golden lover, would you get me a whiskey?)

“Of course,” Cullen growled, then he whispered just for her, “I will give you anything you want.”

Evie thought he was pleased by the little game they were all playing. She heard choruses of laughter mixed with questions of what she said. They were all watching her, and she could see by the predatory glint in Cullen’s eyes, that he enjoyed it. That look made her wonder. She remembered how shy he was when they first started talking and that it was followed by a confident swagger. She couldn’t wait to explore this further.

“Damn chief, how in the void did you land a pigeon like her? She an escort?” This question was posed by another rookie. Evie didn’t like his tone, and it seemed she wasn’t the only one. A few of the other officers stood up from where they were sitting. It was one thing to offer good-natured teasing to ones commanding officer, it was another to treat her with a complete lack of respect. It made her feel confident in Cullen at his men’s reaction to the younger man, but she of all people wouldn’t let someone else stand for her.

“Oh, you poor sweet thing,” she cooed at him like the pigeon he accused her of being. She spoke to him as she ran her hand over his face. “Having a hard time finding a bird of your own?” His mouth dropped open in lust and she saw the other officers moving closer to defend her. Interestingly enough Cullen stayed back even though there was fire in his eyes.

Seemingly from nowhere, the hand that was gently caressing him turned violent as she pushed his face into the bar top with it. Her free hand was holding his right arm straight up and back forcefully, the pressure on his wrist.

“Now, would you like to amend your previous statement?”

“Maker, yes.” He was squirming, and his voice was higher than it was earlier, “Andraste knows I didn’t mean anything by it.”

Evie didn’t leave off on the pressure. “Hmm, perhaps Andraste knows it, but I believe Evie would like to hear it.” She told him, still in the honey-sweet voice that she spoke to him with earlier.

“You’re right,” he yelped, “damn it you’re right. I should have never spoken to the Chief's lady that way.” Evie held her grip tighter before he squeaked out, “any lady that way. Any lady. Maker, you could break my arm.”

Evie let him go as suddenly as she had held him. “You’re right, I could.” The other cops were looking at her with mostly respect in their eyes. “But, I have more control than some.” She gently pat his cheek and batted her eyes at him. “This one was for free, the next lesson might cost you.”

The whole conversation happened in less than a minute, but she turned from a piece of arse into a woman to be respected. Evie looked to Cullen and the look he was giving her made her blood boil. If she was lucky he would want to tame her in the gentlest of ways. If she was unlucky, they would just have amazing sex. She won either way.

It was steamy, that look. As cliché as that thought was, she knew he was more than ready for her brand.

Chapter Text

Evie had a genuinely good time at The Rest with Cullen’s men. It was fun to see how they interacted together. He never once let his professionalism slide, they all still knew he was their commanding officer. It was good that he was able to let go enough of himself to have a good time, but Evie respected his ability to draw a line. You knew he wouldn’t cross it. He could be having a good time with his men tonight and tomorrow treat them the exact same as any other day. The same thing had shown in his interaction with Max. Evie wondered if the fact that her brother was going to be on their team was one of the reasons Cullen introduced her to them already. That isn’t usually a first date kind of thing, was it?

“Mind if we walk for a bit?” Cullen asked her as he helped her with her coat. “I only had a couple of beers, but I think it would be better if I didn’t drive right now.”

“I’d love to walk around.” It was a beautiful night and the chill air was just enough to cool off the excess heat from The Rest. “This seems like a pretty cool area, show me around.”

“All right, I don’t think anything will be open but there are some really cool old buildings around here.” Cullen started in a direction, paused, and held his arm out.

There is something so sexy about a gentleman, Evie thought to herself. She wanted to touch him, she wanted to be close to him. This was a great excuse to do both. As she wrapped her arm in his, she leaned closer into him. She wasn’t cold, but she could have been, not that she needed the excuse to lay her head on his shoulder.

If she hadn’t seen the shy side of the man herself, she never would have believed he existed as Cullen smoothly unlaced his arm from hers and wrapped it around her waist. He pulled her closer to his side. “Chilly?” He asked her.

“Not really.” Was all she said it was really all she needed to say.

“Have I told you how glad I am that you needed a coffee refill yesterday morning?”

Evie couldn’t believe it had only been yesterday that she met this man. Things seemed to be moving along quickly for her. “No, but I am so happy I did.” They passed under a street light and she looked at him. It wasn’t as great of a height difference as her and Bull, but he was tall enough, that even in her shoes, she had to look up.

She was so very glad she did. Something about the light refracted differently in his eyes than she had seen before. It was like looking at liquid caramel. She knew if she let them, those eyes would bathe her in desire just as thick as the sticky sweet could coat her body.

He held her closer, the press of their bodies was complete but for the layers of cloth in the way. He was so warm. Heat poured from his body into hers warming her in more ways than one. Looking at his face, she felt the arousal pool in a hot wet blanket between her legs. It had been so long, and she had been teased without release several times in the last few days. She could have taken herself in hand, but with the sound of her brother and lover in the next room, well . . . just no.

She didn’t want to scare this one away, maybe that’s what happened with Bull. Did she come on too strong? But if Bull or Cullen for that matter, couldn’t handle her sexual side, then it was over before it started. There was no way she was going to have another vanilla relationship where sex was only an obligation.

She stared intently into his eyes, then at his lips.

“What are you thinking so seriously?” He asked her. She didn’t answer him, she couldn’t. She knew that no words could relate what was going through her mind, and her heart. So, she didn’t.

She launched herself at his mouth. She grasped at the blonde curls with one hand and clung to his back with the other. Desperation making her sloppy. She was too hard, too forceful, but she didn’t’ care. It was just a violent press of lips at first, then she licked and nipped at his full mouth until he ceded her entry. It was then that a switch flipped. Evie was no longer leading this dance.

One arm was over her shoulders, one arm under. They were powerful arms, the arms of a soldier. The desk position must have been relatively new, or he had time to hit the gym. They were unyielding. Strong. Safe.

Evie had never felt more secure or safe as she was in Cullen’s arms. They held her, a comforting force with the promise of control. She could let him. His arms could hold all her doubt, all her pain, all her fear. She knew at that moment, that she could let herself go. She didn’t even fully understand what that meant. Who would she be if she let go? Evie had never been able to before.

She was in control of everything. All the time. She was focused and precise, meticulous even. She schooled her emotions with her family. She controlled difficult situations with her self-defense. She was the perfect student, the perfect lawyer. She even took care of her older brother.

What would it be like to just let go?

A loud honk and a call to get a room reminded them both that they were in a public space under a streetlight. Not the best place for her to let go. But, Maker, did she want to. As they stepped away from each other, her body felt the loss of his.

They were both breathing heavily and just gazed at one another for a moment, or an hour. Time was lost as their gazes seared the other.

“My apartment is this way.” Cullen told her, but the look on his face just after made her realize that he felt he was being too forward.

“I would love to see it,” she told him. “No expectations.” As much as she wanted him, craved him, she would let him take his time. The relief was clear in his eyes, so she added, “But I’m up for anything.” Then his gaze grew in its heat.

“Good to know.” Was all he responded.

As Evie let her eyes be pulled away from the man she was walking with, she was floored by her surroundings.

There were beautiful old buildings on every side. Some were well taken care of. There was a little boutique with beautiful clothing in the windows, she would remember that for later, a coffee shop that was probably only open earlier in the day. She saw a busy restaurant, an athletic shoe store, an honest to the Maker hat store, and an adult clothing store next to a strip club. It was all tastefully done and was charming in its own way. There were some empty spots and many of the stores had apartments above them.

On the next street over, was an empty building. There were no tenants of any kind in it. The building seemed a little run down, but the character was amazing. It was mostly brick and stone, most of the old architectural details were still there, but in desperate need of repair. It was beautiful, three stories, and the main floor still had the original windows with stained glass features on the top arches. There were ornate façades around all the windows and doors and on the roof were steeples that looked almost like bell towers.

“Why is this building empty?” Evie asked aghast.

“As far as I know, it is a protected building, so renovating it has to be done through the historical society. I guess it is too expensive or big of a project for someone to take on.” Cullen told her casually.

“How do you know that?” She asked him surprised at his knowledge.

“One of my good friends is on the society and he loves that old building.”

Evie’s mind was going crazy. She knew it would be expensive, but the third floor could be converted into a living space and the lower two could be offices and conference rooms. It wouldn’t be close to as large as the Trevelyan Law firms, but it would be amazing for what she wanted. She looked around her at the surrounding area. There was such a mishmash of retailers that she was sure it would work. It was also relatively close to the police station and a bond office.

“It’s perfect!” She announced. “I want it.”

“What? You want the building?” Cullen asked her.

“Yes, I can restore it and make it what I need it to be.” Evie went on to tell Cullen all her plans for her law firm. As they continued walking she talked about what she wanted to accomplish and all her dreams

“That’s incredible. Skyhold has nothing like that, and we need it.” He looked at her with genuine joy on his face. “I could help you. I know people from the historical society that could get your permits and get you in touch with contractors. Leliana could introduce you to her wife, she would get you coverage and prestige. Wow, a pro-bono clinic for the downtrodden. You could act where others could not, and the people could be a part of it.” Cullen paused for breath, “Forgive me, I didn’t mean for my mouth to get away from me like that.” He chuckled.

Evie just stared at him. She was in awe at his desire to help and passion for her cause. He would be a boon and an asset for her dream. At that moment she may have fallen a little bit in love with Cullen Rutherford. He was a dream of opposites. Naïve, but he’s seen it all; genuine but hard, fervent but reserved, sexy and shy, passionate but unsure. He was amazing, and Evie knew that she would never meet someone like him if she lived thousands of years ago or thousands of years in the future.

“I like whatever your mouth decides to do.” She told him. If she focused on his physical traits maybe she wouldn’t get attached to his personal ones too quickly.

He got a look in his eye. It was a look that was purely male. It was ownership and lust. It was the surety that he could have her. He knew that she was his, for at least right now. It was sex, it was passion, it was lust. There was almost more, and Evie knew that if things continued on their current path, it would be.

Cullen’s building was not as old as the one she fell in love with, but it still had historical charm. It was brick and had a simpler façade, but still showed its age on the outside. On the inside, it had been remodeled from what looked like an old hotel. The lobby was lush and slightly overdone. There was amazing molding on the ceiling and walls that you just didn’t see anymore.  Newer builders didn’t put details like that in their plans. New places were all clean lines and modern fixtures. She loved the building and it gave her ideas of what her building could be.

She already thought of the old building as hers and couldn’t wait to make it a reality. No more house hunting or looking for other places. She would stay in a smaller hotel suite while it was being renovated and start making relationships with social workers, civil defenders, and other local police. She knew that, if nothing else, Bull would help her build the contacts she needed. She could start working with clients out of whatever hotel she used.

As they got closer to Cullen’s apartment her mind switched directions from business to pleasure.

He was nervous, she could tell. She would not pressure him, she would let him take whatever speed he wanted to. Even if their relationship didn’t progress further, she would remain with him in whatever capacity he allowed. So, even though she was ready to jump his bones as soon as they got in the door, she wouldn’t. There were times to push for your own desires, and times to let others allow their passions to come to fruition.

They got out of the elevator and sauntered toward his place. Her hand was in his. It was warm and dry. He wasn’t as nervous as she thought, so she started to fondle his fingers with her own. He opened his door and the only thought she had time for was that his place was clean and in order.

Evie was pressed against the wall as soon as the door was open. Cullen was feasting from her mouth like a man starved. His hands were everywhere and nowhere. She never knew where they would be next. Her skin tingled in anticipation of being touched. After he touched her almost everywhere he could reach his hands settled.

They settled by pinning her wrists to the wall above her. His movements slowed as if he had taken the edge off his hunger for her. He pulled back, not all the way, just enough to trail small kisses down her neck. He left a stream of small nips and gentle kisses from throat to clavicle. He pressed his hands into her wrists, telling her where to keep them, much like he did in the car earlier. Then his fingers ran down her arms, so soft it almost tickled, to palm her breasts. He looked at her, asking permission with his gaze, and all she could do to give it was moan.

She left her arms up, he asked her too and she would leave them there until he let her know otherwise. His hands were mounding her breasts above the neckline of her sweater so he could reach the soft globes with his mouth. And reach them he did.

He licked, he nipped, he caressed them with his nose. Looking into her eyes, he started to bare them by pulling her top down with his teeth.

“Woof.” A loud noise stopped everything and then Evie felt a pressure at the juncture of her thighs, just not the one she wanted. It was the nose of a rather large dog.

“Nic!” Cullen said abruptly, “knock that off. I’m so sorry.” He looked at her then with contrition. Evie couldn’t help it. She laughed.

She laughed so hard that she could feel the tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. It was just so surreal. She knew that Cullen wouldn’t want to take their relationship to the next level so quickly. But, it seemed his body was thinking with a different head than his brain. It was this image that made her laugh. His dog knew him better than he did.

“It’s okay, Nic here was obviously feeling ignored.” Evie reached down to pet the dog and it quickly turned from a soft head rub to a full-blown wrestle. She was laughing so hard she thought she might pee her pants.

 “Nicodemus stop it right now.” Cullen seemed aghast.

“It’s okay,” Evie laughed, “I love animals.” Then she started wrestling him in earnest. They were on the floor and the huge dog could have torn her apart, but he was a gentleman, a tribute to his master. “You’re such a sweetie, aren’t you? You love your master, don’t you? You just wanted to make sure he was safe?” Evie spoke to him in the baby voice that all people seemed to use around small children and animals.

Nicodemus was licking her face so intensely Evie was worried that he would get addicted to her makeup. “Enough, Nic, enough.” She laughed.

He was well trained because he immediately got off her and sat. He looked at her with his head tilted to the side as she got up. He was obviously judging her in a way only a dog could know. He must have come to an amicable conclusion as he let his tongue out panting and smiled a doggy smile.

“You’re such a good boy, aren’t you?” The stub of a tail was wagging violently in happiness. “I can’t believe you have a Mabari. They are such a rare breed, said to be so smart that they know your desires and moods before you do.” Cullen seemed surprised.

“You know his breed on site?” He asked her.

“Yeah, I have always wanted one, ever since learning about them in my Animal Science class.” She told him. “Legend says they were bread with magic thousands of years ago when it was still prevalent in Thedas. It allowed them to be almost human smart and they chose their master, not vice versa.”

Nic looked at her, the intelligence shining from his eyes. He gave a soft quick bark to give his agreement of her assessment.

“That’s impressive,” Cullen told her, “You really know your stuff. He is an exceptional animal.” The dog seemed to preen at the praise as Cullen was talking to her. Smart dog indeed. Perhaps there was something to the legend after all.

They moved to the couch, small touches telling each other that the want was still beneath the surface. Cullen told her about some of the cases he was working on, what details he could anyway, and she told him about Felix and her revelation with Max.

“Damn.” There was a long pause, where neither of them knew what to say. “I don’t know what I would do if I found that out.” She agreed with him.

“I’m not sure what to do about it, but part of me sees Sharleena Trevelyan being a large donor for my firm.”

Cullen laughed. It was throaty and rich. Genuine. “Well, that’s one way to settle the issue she has with you returning to Ostwick.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Evie wondered how that conversation would go. But that was something to worry about another time.

They watched T.V. together for a while. Evie couldn’t tell you what it was. She was too distracted. At first, it was her thoughts distracting her. She thought about her building, she thought about what she wanted to do with her firm. She thought about Felix and Dorian and Max. Her mind turned into a plate of spaghetti, every thought overlapped another which overlapped another.

Then her distraction was for a very different reason.

Cullen started to trail his fingers idly on her thigh. He was unaware of what he was doing. He was watching the show and looking at his phone. She loved this level of comfort with him. She imagined this is something an established couple would do. She wanted to see him again. Wanted him to meet the small family she was establishing here in Skyhold.

“Would you like to come over for dinner tomorrow?” She asked him, “I’ll cook, and you could meet Felix and Dorian and get to know Max better.”

“I would love to.” He looked at her again, the heat starting to fill his eyes. He leaned over to her and laid a gentle kiss on her mouth. Similar to what he did in front of his work earlier that morning, only half on her lips. “But a good friend of mine just asked me for a favor.” Evie was disappointed, but soon relieved when he continued. “Would you want to come with me?”

“Really, you want me to come with you to your friends?” First his officers, now his friends. Evie thought that Cullen was taking this as seriously as she was.

“I need to pick him up at the airport. I really think you would like him, and I know he would just love you.” He told her. “We could meet up with your friends another night. I would really like to meet Felix. He must be pretty amazing to warrant such care so early after meeting him.”

“Yeah, I am sad to not be a match for him.” Then Evie had a thought. “Cullen, if Max is a match and he has surgery will that hurt his career with you?” She was only slightly worried. She knew that Max would do it regardless.

“Of course not. In fact, I would encourage it in any one of my officers.” He said adamantly. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Evie launched to his arms again. She held her lips to his for a moment, that was all. She didn’t want to keep taking things deeper until he wanted to. But this man, this wonderful man, was too much to hope for. So, she told him so.

“You are amazing.”

He just smiled at her, again with his smirk. That smirk, full of such promises, would do her in one of these days and she wouldn’t be held liable for her reactions.

The show was over so he stood up and reached down for her.

“I’ll pick you up tomorrow around four. Does that work?”

“I can’t wait to meet your friend. And, I can’t wait to spend more time with you.” They walked toward his door and Evie asked for a carriage from the app on her phone. “Do you need to get your car?”

“No, I walk most days. It will be safe at The Rest.” Cullen walked down to wait with her in front of his building. When the car showed up he kissed her with all the pent-up passion from the night exploding forth.

“I have to go.”

“One of these times, I’ll bring you here, and you’ll stay.” The low timbre of his voice and the meaning behind his words made Evie instantly wet for him.

“Yes.” Was all she said as she got into the car and left him for the hotel.

Now she needed to call Beth and tomorrow she would work on her building.

Chapter Text

11:00 PM Evie: Are you still awake?

11:01 PM Beth: Duh?!

Evie called Beth. She had already decided not to tell her of their mother's indiscretion. She wasn’t specifically planning on bribing Sharleena, but she wouldn’t want anyone looking too closely at the situation. She had already told Max not to tell anyone, he asked her ‘Why would he?’ So that wasn’t going to ever be an issue. The family didn’t really talk to him anyway.

She called Beth.

“Holy Maker, you better spill and tell me everything that’s going on.” Beth said without even saying hello.

“I know, and I will.” Evie still had small doubts, “but I need you to tell me why the change of heart. Why are you all of a sudden talking to me?”

“The truth?” Evie could hear the trepidation in her voice.

“The truth. I won’t judge you for it, I just can’t share everything with you without fearing that you have an ulterior motive.”

There was a long enough pause in the conversation for Evie to wonder if Beth hadn’t hung up on her, but before she could confirm it she heard her sisters voice, and it was nothing she ever would have expected.

“It was Bull.”

“Excuse me?” What the fuck?

“He saw right through me. It was like I was a novel that he was able to read in the first five minutes of meeting me.”

Beth went on to explain the conversations she had with him and what he told her.

“I would never have had any idea you felt that way.” Was all she could say.

“That means, I did a good job. Because we are at a point now, where mom and dad can’t control either of us. So, after Bull’s encouragement, I decided it was time. I don’t want you to hate me, and if we are going to work together, I don’t want to end up feeling for you what I pretend. It only works when we don’t interact too often.”

Evie felt tears forming in her eyes. It was amazing and wonderful. If it hadn’t been Bull who saw through Beth, Evie might still think this a masterful manipulative scam.

“Well, are you going to say something?” She asked.

“Honestly I am still processing.” Was all Evie could tell her.

“Well, that’s good. If you hated me, you would know right off the bat.”

Evie wanted to break down. She wanted to crawl into her big sister’s lap and let her hold her. She wanted to scream in frustration at the years lost and cry with the relief that it was over. What Beth said next sealed which way her emotions went.

“I love you, Evie.” There was a wetness in her voice that gave away her older sister was crying herself. “I always have.”

Evie sobbed into the phone, both women were comforting each other with their own tears. It was a beautiful moment. The release of pent-up love that they had both been hiding. They talked about moments that they were there for each other that seemed so ulterior at the time. And for the first time, Evie felt like she had someone she could share everything with.

“I want to tell you everything.” She told her older sister.

“I want you to tell me everything.” Was her response.

“Hesbeth,” Evie rarely called her by her full name.

“Anything, Evelyn.” Beth’s tone of voice almost got her crying again.

“I have to tell you about Seggrit.” Was how it started. The sound of silence over the phone changed. It was still silent, and until the next words came from Beth, she wouldn’t have been able to say what it was that changed.

“What the fuck did that bastard do.” Beth was angry. It was the kind of anger Evie would have expected from Max. If she had any doubts about what she had been told, Beth’s tone of voice would have squashed them into remnants.

So, she told her. Everything. Evie told her about the control, she told her about the violence, she told her about the clothes and about her classmate. She told her about the rape, she told her about the sex. Evie told her big sister, about the emotional trauma and finally about the night she ended it.

“Say something.” Evie pleaded.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone? Why not Max, why would you let yourself suffer alone?” The anger had reverted back to tears.

“I was so ashamed. I couldn’t put that on him. Max would have killed him. It would have destroyed everything.”

“First of all, it is Dwayne’s shame, not yours. But now,” another long pause, “now it’s mine.”

“What do you mean Beth, none of this could possibly be on you?”

“If I were there for you like I should have been, maybe it wouldn’t have happened. Maybe it would have ended sooner. Maybe . . .” Evie interrupted her.

“Don’t you dare.” There was no reason for Evie to let Beth carry any guilt. “You had your reasons for being the way you were, so don’t you dare take this on. It was me. I could have stopped it and I didn’t. And as much as it was awful, if it hadn’t have happened, I might not be strong enough to do what I am doing now.”

“Oh, Evie. You are such a stronger person than I am.” She started to giggle. “Maybe I can be you when I grow up.”

It wasn’t that funny, it really wasn’t. But for some reason, both girls were laughing hysterically. Tears started to stream down Evie’s face. She recognized it for the relief it was. Being able to release so much repressed emotion. It was like the ember you tried to smother but would never go out. It is only if you kindle it to flame and put that out, that there are no more embers remaining.

“And, he has such a small prick.” Beth added to the conversation. If Evie had been drinking, she would have spewed it out.

“How in the Void would you know that?”

“Shit, girl. I went down on him while you were ‘dating’.”

“What the fuck?” Evie was still giggling. “Why would you do that?” The conversation became somber.

“Because mother told me to test his commitment.”

Holy Maker. Her mother was Evil. A controlling manipulative bitch.

“And you went with it?”

“You have to understand.” She didn’t’ speak for so long Evie had to ask.

“Understand what?”

“I know you won’t get it, but she threatened to cut me off. I have nothing without the family money don’t you see?”

“Maybe that was true before you got your office in the law firm, but it isn’t true now.” Evie was perplexed.

“I’m not strong like you. I felt like I had nothing without the Trevelyan name.”

Evie could hear the sorrow in her sister’s voice. Has no one told her? Has she had less confirmation of her skill than even Evie? She struggled with what to do. She couldn’t decide whether to console and deny or to give her the tough love she needed. Their relationship was so fresh, so new. Would she ruin the bud before it could bloom? Would the ruin of said bud be worth giving her sister what she needed?

Yes.

“Hesbeth Trevelyan! Don’t you dare stoop to the ‘I’m not good enough’ attitude with me. I am not some lowly paralegal you can manipulate with a sob story. Because I know the truth. You are a fucking talented lawyer. You are the one who people call in to make connections between pieces of evidence that they can’t find. You are brilliant with deduction and have no time for anyone’s bullshit but your own. Don’t you dare let your bullshit get in the way of your brilliance.” Evie was met with silence. “Because if you do, I will fly back up there so fast and kick your arse before flying back here.”

“Andrastes flaming arse cheeks. You mean that, don’t you?”

“I rarely say anything I don’t mean.” Evie heard crying. Shit! “Beth,”. . . “Beth?”

“Holy Maker.” Beth started laughing maniacally. “Evie, you just did in five minutes what six years of therapy couldn’t do.” Evie was almost afraid to ask.

“And, what’s that?”

“You helped me believe.”

Beth went on to explain that she was always under the impression that people asked for her opinion out of duty. She had no idea that she would see things that others missed. It was so obvious to her, that she thought everyone else saw it too. On top of that, no one gave her credit for figuring it out, and she was so blinded by her perceived inadequacies that she let them take it as their own.

“You know what that means right?” Evie asked her.

“I know what I think it means. But, what do you think it means?”

“It means they will never see you coming.”

“You’re right.” Beth was almost purring on the other end of the phone. Evie knew if she could see her sister, she would have a grin bigger than the slyest cat.

They went on to talk about Max and Dorian and Felix. Beth started talking about Bull and what he helped her to see.

“He seems to do that.” Evie said.

“Do what?”

“Read people and give them exactly what they need.”

“Yeah,” Beth said hesitantly.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s just that, I have been seeing Bull while he’s still in town.”

Evie realized how much sense that made. The whole reason that Bull wasn’t talking to her was that he found her sister. It made sense. Beth was gorgeous and talented and available.

“Oh.” Was all she could muster.

“Not like that you bitch. Maker, what do you take me for?”

“The kind of person who gives a blow job to her sister's boyfriend on the request of their crazy mother.”

“I guess I deserved that.” Beth sighed.

“Well, what did you mean then?” Evie was curious now.

“He talks about you all the time. That he can’t wait to get back home and see you. He told me how you two just fit together.”

“What the fuck.” Evie went on to tell her about their communication.

“Andraste, I guess that would be a downer. Is that was you went on a date with someone else?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. If I were with Bull, really with him, I probably wouldn’t have taken it to this level. But Cullen is amazing. I like him a lot.”

“How did you meet him so fast.”

Evie told Beth how she met him and that he was Max’s boss. She told her about their date and how the dog prevented things from going any further.

“Damn, girl.”

“I know. What am I going to do?”

“Well, I think you should call and talk to Bull on the phone to see if things are different. Maybe he just doesn’t do texting.”

“That’s a valid point, but if he wanted to talk to me, why wouldn’t he call me?”

“That’s probably a question you should ask him. Maybe he’s wondering the same thing.”

“Shit.” Did Evie already ruin what could have been amazing between them? Did she still want to see Bull now that she has met Cullen? Fuck, fuck, fuck.

“I think you’re right.” Evie sighed, “What do I tell Cullen? I am going with him to meet his friend tomorrow. I don’t want to hurt him, I like him and I like Bull.”

“Keep it simple. Go with Cullen, but don’t do anything more than what you have done. Wait for Bull to get there and meet with him too. See what you feel for both. Then you can decide.”

It was a good idea. She wasn’t committed to either of them.  So it wasn’t like she was being disloyal. Damn, she had to figure this out soon.

“Yeah, you are so smart, Beth. Thank you. What about you, what are you going to do now?”

“I think I am going to woman up and be a great lawyer. I will do it slowly, I am a master manipulator after all. I need to see where feelings are in the office. Then you and I can take the Trevelyan Firm by storm.”

“You will.” Evie bit her lip, now for the big one. “I’m not coming back.”

“What do you mean?”

“I am going to follow my own dream.”

Evie told her about her firm, about the beautiful building and her plans to restore it for her use. She told her that she was buying time to use as much of her parent's money as she could get away with until she got cut off.

“Then what? How are you going to support a firm like that?”

“I have almost doubled my trust fund since it was available to me. I am a pretty great investor and haven’t spent any of it.”

“Damn, girl. I guess I didn’t realize that you didn’t do any wild shopping or parties as I did. You didn’t even buy yourself a car.”

“Nope. I will probably finance the building to keep most of my assets liquid for now. I also have some properties in Ostwick that the family doesn’t know about.”

“How did you invest in Real Estate without mom and dad finding out? Because that’s brilliant and I might have to do the same thing.”

“I used their rival firm, under contract that if my family found out about it they would lose all investment income from me and have to pay back half of the dividends they received.”

“Holy Maker, you are a great lawyer. I can’t believe the Cadash firm went for it.”

“It was a lot of money. And I am very sly when I want to be. I got some of moms traits after all.”

“Yeah, you did.” Beth was laughing now. Feeling the joy that was beating their parents at their own game. That’s so awesome Evie, promise me you will let me know how I can help you okay?”

“I will. And you might have to come for a visit soon. I really want to hug you. We can watch movies talk about men and have a carb and ice cream fest.”

“Mmm, carbs. I would love too. But for right now, I will be your eyes and ears for the weather here.”

“You’re the best.” Then Evie had a thought. “Do you still want Max’s number?”

“Yeah, I do.” Beth sighed audibly, “I have to get to know him again. I haven’t spoken to him for more than a few minutes at a time in years. Do you think he will want to speak with me?”

Evie said the only thing she could. “I don’t know, but if you tell him what you told me, he probably will. He is amazing and you would be so proud of him.”

“Thank you, Evie, I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t met Bull. Honestly.”

“If nothing else, he has healed a lot of hurts that I didn’t know were hurting. Do you think it is too late for me to call him tonight?”

“Nope, call him girl. And if you decide to be with Cullen that’s totally cool, but I might try for Bull if you don’t.”

They hung up laughing. It was a good feeling.

11:45 PM Evie: Are you awake still?

Evie stared at her phone. Judging by previous texting, she was sure she wouldn’t hear from him for a few minutes.

11:48 PM Bull: Yeah

Evie rolled her eyes, if Beth was right and he wasn’t a texter, then he was the worst texter in the world. She just spent three minutes in The Void waiting for him. She called him. He answered immediately.

“Hey, beautiful.” Evie almost forgot how amazingly sexy the timbre of his voice was. Deep and gravelly, and so seductive.

“Wow, I didn’t realize until this minute how much I missed your voice.”

“You’re one to talk. It’s been driving me crazy not to be able to hear you.”

Well damn, Beth was right.

“You could have called anytime Bull.”

“I could have, but I didn’t want to intrude on your time with your brother.” Oh.

“You text like shit!”

Bull laughed throatily and deep. “I know. You aren’t the first one to say so, and I am sure you won’t be the last.”

Evie didn’t know what to feel now. She was relieved that he wasn’t playing with her and guilty that she doubted him. She wanted to yell at him and tell her how it made her feel.

“You should warn a girl about that.”

“What do you mean?” There was genuine concern in his voice.

“I thought you were ignoring me or just didn’t want to talk to me.”

“Well, shit.” He sighed, “I guess I didn’t realize what that would seem like to someone I was interested in.” Evie’s heart fluttered. He was still interested in her. “I don’t say this often, because I only say it when it’s true, but I am so sorry Evie. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I think about you all the time, you know.”

“I guess you talk about me too.” She was so excited to share with him what happened with her and Beth. “I talked to Beth tonight.”

“Really? How did that go?”

“She is the one who encouraged me to call you.”

“Considering your thoughts of me, I owe her a bottle of something expensive.”

“Yeah, you do. I thought that you were just enjoying me while I was available and now that I wasn’t . . .” She shrugged knowing he couldn’t see it.

“Oh, Evie. I’m so sorry. I really didn’t realize what you might have thought, but after some of the things we said to each other, I never imagined you would think that.”

“I guess I’m a little more insecure with men than I thought.”

“Oh, sweetheart. Don’t let whatever Seggrit did burn you. I don’t know what happened, but I do know something happened and you broke his nose for it. Am I right?”

“Yeah, your right.”

“I am actually a lot better on that front now.”

Evie told him about her conversation with Evie, about their reconnection, not about Cullen. She would cross that bridge when she had too.

“That’s amazing. I am so glad you two are reconnecting. I think Max would like it too.”

“I owe you a lot for that.”

“You don’t owe me shit.”

“I know but thank you anyway.”

“I have a surprise for you.” He told her.

“Really, what is it?”

“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you.” Evie laughed.

“Why is it the first thing people say when you tell them you have a surprise.”

“Human nature.” He responded. “I should go to sleep, I have a lot to do tomorrow. I’ll see you soon though, okay?”

“Good Night Bull.”

“Night Evie.”

As she hung up, Evie knew her mind would be busy for a while. She thought of Cullen and of Bull and recognized she wouldn’t be sleeping anytime soon. She had a lot to digest and was going to have to find a way to make up her mind.

 

Chapter Text

Cullen was nervous for Evie to meet his friend. He really wanted them to get along. He met Bull a few years ago when he was helping them on a case. They just clicked. He was charming and sure of himself. So many things that Cullen wasn’t. He was also a really, sexy guy, and had Cullen been surer of himself he might have let things develop.

Cullen was pretty sure he was interested, but he wasn’t totally sure. There had been lingering touches, accidental brushing up of their bodies, and hugs that were a little more than Cullen had shared with other men since his early days in the academy.

Cullen thought back to the first conversation that he had with Evie at the diner. When he asked her if she was with both of the men at her table. He remembered the look of arousal on her face. Perhaps, if he played his cards right, she would help fulfill his fantasy. Bull had told him of conquests with both men and women but had never seen him in a relationship.

He looked over at Evie, she seemed a little distracted.

“Is everything all right?” He asked her.

“Good, I’m a little nervous about meeting your friend. And truth be told I am still thinking about what to ask my mother. And then there was my conversation with Beth too.” Evie told him.

“I’m sorry, how inconsiderate of me. Of course, you are still raw over your conversation with your sister.” Evie had told Cullen on the way over here that she re-connected with her sister last night. She wasn’t completely detailed in how it came about. But he was truly happy for her.

“It’s okay. I guess I had a few revelations yesterday.” Evie told him. “With Max, and Beth and other stuff. I’m just glad my relationship with Max didn’t change. And I am so happy to have my sister.”

“That is good.” Cullen couldn’t imagine what she was going through. What a thing to learn about Max. He couldn’t imagine what he would do in her place. Though his parents were both gone, he couldn’t imagine it would change his relationship with Mia. Or to not have a relationship with her in the first place.

He had called her last night to tell her about Evie. Cullen smiled to himself about her reaction. She squealed. Almost a shriek. Nic had barked, having heard it through the phone with his normal that average hearing. Cullen was still a little upset with him at his earlier interruption and put him outside. Though looking back, it was probably a good thing that Nic introduced himself to Evie the way he did.

Cullen wasn’t one to rush into a physical relationship normally, but Evie had been so intoxicating. How was she even real? Again, he looked over to the woman holding his hand as they were looking for the place he was supposed to meet Lawrence. Maker, she was beautiful.

“Yeah, I have always been close to Max, and his reaction to the news was odd, but I guess I understand it.” She sniggered.

“I could only imagine,” Cullen responded. “Ah, here is where we will meet him. He should be landing shortly.” Cullen pulled out his phone to check his last message from the other man. “He is the worst at responding to text messages, I wouldn’t be surprised if he just waltzes out.”

“Yeah, some people text like crap. I think part of it is there is no vocal inflection and you can take things the wrong way via text message, so some chose to be as vague as possible.” Evie said. Her eyes were a little distant as if she were distracted again.

“Thank you for coming with me?” Cullen remarked to her. “I think you guys will hit it off. You have a lot of similar traits.” And they did, they were both confident and easy going. Both quick to laugh and flirt, and both sexy as the void.

“I need to go the restroom really quick. I’ll be right back.” Evie squeezed his hand before letting it go. She was so soft and felt so good.

“He should be here soon, don’t be too long.”

“I won’t, just wait here for me okay.” She gave him a dazzling smile as she followed the signed in the airport. He was so lucky. Part of him was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

She was gone for a while when he saw Bull.

“Cullen! My man.” He pulled him into a tight hug and Cullen held him back. A little more than he usually would have. As they pulled back from each other, he felt the inquiry from Bull's chocolate gaze. “Everything good?”

“Wonderful, in fact, I want to introduce you to someone.” Cullen searched the crowd behind him, looking for dark hair and emerald eyes.

“So sorry, there was a line a mile long. I swear, I almost went into the men’s room.”

“I would love to see the look on the men’s faces when you walked in.” Bull said.

Cullen realized he was missing something when he saw the look on Evie’s face. She was shocked, and when he looked at Bull and saw a blank face, something clicked.

“Well, shit. You’re the guy who was ignoring her.” He said in realization. The conversation from the diner coming back to him. How did he miss it? They were speaking in Orlesian, but they did mention the bull. He assumed they were giving someone a description not using an actual name.

“And you must have met Evie when meeting Max.”

“Sort of.” Cullen rubbed the back of his neck. It wasn’t awkward exactly, but it wasn’t comfortable either.

“I think we should get a drink and talk,” Evie told them both. “And I probably need to explain some things.”

“Not really, I think I get it. But yeah, we should talk. But first . . .” Bull stopped talking and went to Evie, lifted her face to his and kissed her. He kissed her with what Cullen only assumed was pent-up passion. He didn’t think he was trying to make him jealous, he thought he just missed her. Because who wouldn’t. He wasn’t jealous, not really, but there was something other than arousal trying to raise its head. Then Bull looked at him, challenging him. Cullen was enough of a man to rise to said challenge.

He pulled a still pliable Evie into his arms and gave her another searing kiss. It was a battle, not for Evie’s body or even for her at all. It was a battle to arouse Bull as much as watching the two of them aroused him. He looked at his friend and was pleased by the look in the bigger man’s eyes.

“Shit.” Bull said and tried to discretely adjust himself.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Evie proclaimed. “We so need to talk.”

“Agreed.” Cullen looked over to Bull with heat in his gaze. “We do.”

They didn’t waste time and sat in the airport bar. Cullen ordered Evie a whiskey and ginger, and he and Bull had a beer.

“So, why don’t you tell us what you wanted to tell us.” Bull said to Evie. She took a grounding breath.

“First, let me tell both of you that this wasn’t my intention at all.” Evie looked to Cullen and told him how she met Bull, the party, how they seemed to connect, and how he read her sister.

“What happened?” Cullen asked her. Whatever it was, he was glad. He knew that if Evie thought she was going to end up with Bull she wouldn’t have started anything with him. So whatever Bull had done or not done to make her give up on him, was only in his favor.

“Let me show you.” Evie showed Cullen the text messages she had shared with Bull over the last few days. Cullen understood immediately. He had been on the receiving end or non-receiving end of Bulls texting himself.

“You know Bull. You are lucky she still likes you.” He told him.

“I know, I’m shit with texting.” He muttered, “I really should tell people that up front.” He chuckled, but Cullen knew he was serious.

“It was bad. I thought he was an in the moment kind of guy, but then part of my conversation with Beth last night was about Bull. She told me that he was talking about me all the time and that I should call him.”

“So, you did.” Cullen stated, and Evie nodded.

“I did. And I realized that I messed up.”

“Hey, you didn’t mess up. You didn’t do anything wrong, Evie.” Bull told her. “We didn’t talk about after, or where this was going. You were being completely you, and that’s okay.”

“Thank you. That means a lot.”

“Tell me how you met Cullen.”

Evie told him about the diner and laughed at the fact that she didn’t know he was Max’s boss. They were all laughing about how Max called him sexy and that Cullen asked if she were with both of the men at her table.

“Wait, Max met a guy?” Bull asked.

“Maker, yes. He is amazing, and his name is Dorian, and I will tell you all about it after. I promise.”

“And you seriously asked her if she was with them both?” Bull was smirking at Cullen.

“Maker, it was embarrassing, and I was so nervous that this gorgeous woman wanted to talk with me. My mouth just moved faster than my brain.”

“And your first thought was that she was with two men?” Bull was chuckling loudly. Cullen thought that he would love to make Bull laugh a lot. It was throaty and free, and sexy as hell.

“Well with Leliana being in a poly relationship, it was kind of at the front of my mind.” That just made Bull laugh even more and soon the three of them were laughing together.

Cullen regaled them with his impressions on meeting Max and his sister ‘for the first time.’ It was unexpected and if they weren’t such level-headed people it could have been weird.

“Naw, I told you Max was cool.” Bull said.

“I forgot that it was you who talked to Cullen about Max. I should have remembered that you knew each other.” Evie mused aloud. Evie told Bull about meeting Cullen’s men and Nicodemus. “So then when I called Beth, and she told me what was going on with her, I had to call you.” Evie took a long breath and looked at both men. “I like you both, but I feel like I can’t string either of you along. I was up most of the night trying to sort out my feelings. I even made a pros and cons list for both of you to no avail. I couldn’t make up my mind then, and I really don’t know what to do about it.”

Cullen watched as Evie seemed to study the drink in front of her, he knew her mind was a thousand miles away from her whiskey. Her face was tormented, Cullen wanted to ease her mind.

“Date both of us.”

“What?” Evie asked. She looked between the two of them slightly confused.

Cullen didn’t want to push her. What he really wanted was for the three of them to date together. He looked at Bull. “Let the two of us talk about it. We are good friends, we both like you, so I am sure we both want you to be happy.”

“What he said.” Was Bulls answer. “Tell you what, there is a massage parlor in the airport. Finish your drink while you tell me about Max’s beau, then go get a massage and Cullen and I can talk. Sound good.”

Evie’s smile lit up their table and both Cullen and Bull reacted with a smile of their own. “Sounds amazing.”

Evie told them both about how Max met Dorian and his shaky background. She talked about Felix and that Max was testing to see if he could be a donor.

“Wow, I can’t wait to meet this guy. I’d like to get a read on him.” Bull looked inquisitive before saying, “He must be amazing for Max to get so close to him so fast. I mean wow, donating a kidney. Damn.”

“He is pretty awesome. I could see him being my best friend. He is quirky and charming. I think you would really like him. And Felix is really special. I hope he finds a donor, otherwise, his prognosis is pretty bleak.” Evie got a sly smile on her face. “If I can’t decide between the two of you, maybe I’ll date him.”

“Nah, enough of that sweetheart. You’ll figure it out. Now go get that sexy ass naked and onto a table.” As Bull said it, Cullen imagined it. He almost groaned aloud.

“Yes, let the boys have a conversation man to man.”

“Okay.” Evie got up and started to leave but thought better of it and turned around to give them each a quick kiss. “Thank you.”

Cullen and Bull both watched her walk away.

“So,” Bull started, “What’s the plan?”

Chapter Text

Bull kept wondering to himself if he should have told Evie he was coming back today. He wanted to surprise her though, so he asked Cullen to pick him up. Ah Cullen, the one who got away.

Bull was usually better at reading people and had thought Cullen was interested. But, he never picked up on his cues, never said anything when Bull talked about the men he met, so he stopped trying. They were good friends now, if he didn’t count the chargers who technically worked for him, he would say Cullen was his best friend and he didn’t want to lose that by pushing too hard.

Bull knew that Max would be a great asset for Cullen’s team and that he would give him the opportunities he deserved. Thinking of Max made him think of Evie.

He almost fucked things up before they really started. What an idiot. Maker, he wanted her. He may have helped Beth find herself, but if she hadn’t told Evie to call him last night, he wasn’t sure if he would have been able to get back in her good graces. The things she thought about him, he couldn’t blame her at all. Damn.

He saw his boy standing there waiting for him. Mmm, he was still so sexy. Cullen hugged him more intensely than usual, made him wonder what was wrong. Cullen said everything was fine and wanted to introduce him to someone. Damn, if it wasn’t about time.

Bull saw a familiar curve, and a glimpse of green peeking out behind dark hair. Huh? He sure wasn’t going to let this one get away. Not even for his best friend. He marked his territory. He watched Cullen watching them. Andraste’s ass, he wasn’t upset, he wasn’t jealous, he was aroused. Damn.

No sooner did Bull let her go, Cullen picked up the pieces and gave her his own searing kiss. His whiskey eyes seared into his own the whole time. Damn, it was so fucking hot.

Oh.

Really?

His mind was putting the pieces together before Evie told them anything. He meant what he said, that she had nothing to apologize for. And Cullen just confirmed what he had figured out on his own by telling her to date them both. The real surprise of this whole conversation was that Max had already met a guy and seemed to be in love. Well, damn if these Trevelyan’s didn’t move fast. He encouraged Evie to go relax, then turned to Cullen.

“So, what’s the plan?” He asked.

Cullen rubbed at the back of his neck, he did that anytime he was thinking, or stressed out.

“I don’t really have one, yet.” Cullen told Bull. Bull could tell that he had more to say so just waited. He would let Cullen take his own time. “I have a goal, but I don’t know how to go about getting there.”

“Do you want me to tell you what I think your goal is?” Cullen’s face went from contemplating his empty glass to staring Bulls gaze down with intensity so fast he would have missed it if he wasn’t looking.

It was Cullen’s cop face. It was the gaze that would make lesser men squirm and reveal everything. “Yes, I believe I do.”

Bull took a risk and gently placed his hand over the one Cullen had laying on the table. “You want the three of us together.” Bull knew his gut had been right when the look on the blonde man's face went hopeful and yearning and aroused.

“Yes.” It came out little more than a breath. Cullen was allowing himself to be at his most vulnerable, so Bull could be too.

He let his hand trail up from Cullen’s hand to trace over his arm, up to his shoulder, and finally grasped at his neck and pulled him in toward his lips. He peered deeply into whiskey eyes and was lost in the want he saw there.

Their first kiss was gentle and exploratory, they were in public and still had to have a conversation. So it was a soft brush of lips, the barest trace of Bull’s tongue over Cullen’s lower lip, and the smallest graze of teeth. Cullen let his hand caress the side of Bull’s face, playing with the roughness of unshaved stubble.

It only lasted a few moments, but it was enough. They both knew what they wanted. They wanted Evie and they wanted each other. They continued to hold hands as Cullen let out so much pent-up emotion that it almost spewed.

“For the longest time, I never knew that all people weren’t attracted to both men and women. It was hardly the thing that people talked about. So, the first time I told a friend that I thought he was cute, he freaked out and told his parents, who called my parents. There was a huge issue at school.” Cullen paused to order a few more drinks from the waitress when she came by. Bull could have finished the story for him, but let Cullen tell it at his own pace.

Cullen had had great folks and Bull knew they would have been a hundred percent supportive. Cullen would have refused to homeschool, he would have gone back head held high, and done his best. Bull knew that he had met Cassandra in college and they were the best of friends, even to this day. After confirming all his theories, Cullen went on.

“The last time I was with a man, was in Police Academy. It was a quick fling that would have probably developed into more if Alistair wasn’t recruited for the FBI. The most I ever let myself hope for was to have to separate but consensual relationships. Though I knew the chances of that happening would be slim. I have been in several relationships with women, and they are wonderful and . . .” Cullen seemed to be struggling for the right word.

“Tits?” Bull helped him out. Cullen laughed.

“Yes,” was his response. Bull just waited until he was ready to start again. “But I have other needs that couldn’t be provided by the women I was with. Twice, when I thought we were in an established enough relationship, I would talk about it.” Cullen sighed loudly and rubbed the back of his neck. “The first one accused me of using her as a beard, the second told me I was using my bi-sexuality as a reason to cheat on her. I tried sticking it out with her for a while, but that was when I realized that they were needs, not just wants.” Cullen looked at Bull with such raw earnestness and desperation, that his breath caught low in his throat.

“And you gave up,” Bull said, and Cullen nodded. “until you met Evie and let yourself word vomit about her being with two guys.”

“Yeah, it didn’t freak her out, it aroused her. The thought had never occurred to me until I met Leliana’s wife and girlfriend. They are all happy together and Isabella even brings home the occasional man.”

“Lucky man.”  Bull growled.

“I don’t know, those three women are pretty intense. And more in the ‘are they going to fuck me or eat me?’ kind of way, than the ‘I’m going to need a few days to recover’ kind of way.” They both laughed at that.

“Fuck Cullen, I’ve wanted you for years.”

“Really? I thought I was imagining it because I wanted you too.”

“I would say we were both idiots, but if we hadn’t have let our minds drown out our desires. We wouldn’t be here.” Bull told him, Cullen nodded. “And here, is a really good place to be.”

“Yeah. So now to your original question. What’s the plan?”

Bull thought about it for a while, thinking about different scenarios in his head. What did Cullen need? What did Evie need? What would bring them together in the way they want?

“I think we have to go slow. We have the benefit of knowing each other for years.” Bull looked at Cullen who was nodding to himself.

“We have only known Evie for a few days, but Maker help me, the attraction was immediate and fierce. We have to get to know her. And let her get to know us.” Cullen added to the discussion.

“She needs to get to know us individually, and together.”

“Agreed.”

They talked, almost conspiring, about how to both get to know Evie and how to see if together, they could be what she wanted.

“And if she doesn’t want the two of us together?” Cullen asked Bull, the trepidation and vulnerability in his voice clear.

“Shit, Cullen. I’ve known you a heck of a lot longer than Evie. I don’t want to answer that right now. But I don’t want to endanger my relationship with you.” He ran his hand over Cullen’s pale cheek, the contrast between where they touched, dark against fair, was striking. Cullen looked at him, hope and wonder in his eyes. “If it was right now, I would make a choice, but after we both get to know her more . . .” Bull shrugged.

“I know what you mean. She seems like a person who is easy to fall for.”

“Yeah.”

They spent a few moments in their own thoughts, contemplating the options. The future was multifaceted. Too many possibilities. Bull had training in looking at all possible outcomes. He let them trail through his mind on fast forward. It could be him and Evie, or Cullen and Evie, and either of those situations would more than likely destroy his friendship with Cullen and Max. Not acceptable.

“I think it would have to be the three of us together, or the three of us friends. Any other option would destroy something in us.”

“Yeah.” There was Cullen rubbing the back of his neck again.

“You know, you keep doing that, you're going to go thin back there.” He knew he was changing the subject, but it was getting a little heavy.

“Like you?” Cullen teased him. Bull just laughed.

“Hey, my baldness is a fashion choice.”

“You fashionable? What would Krem say.”

“Hah, he would probably roll his eyes and say, ‘Yes mother.’” Bull chuckled.

“You’re right about that.” Cullen’s laugh was low and melodic. Damn, if Bull didn’t desperately want this to work.

“So when Evie gets back, we’ll date her separately but evenly until she can make a choice.”

“In the hopes that she can’t make a choice.”

“Yeah. Andraste’s ass, I feel like we are conspiring.”

“We are, but we are conspiring for her, not against her. I don’t think she’ll mind.”

“Unless it all falls through.” Bull pointed out.

“Do you see another way? I don’t think, we can just be blunt about it.”

“I could ask Max?” Bull pointed out.

“You know him better than I do. Do you think he would want to help or hinder?”

Bull thought about what he knew of Evie’s brother. He was crazy loyal, and as long as the two of them didn’t do anything to hurt her, he might help.

“I think he will help, but we have to be really up front with him. Think about what you would do if it was your little sister Rosalie. What would you do?”

Cullen’s baby sister was willful and would probably do whatever she wanted, but Bull wanted him to think about it from a protective big brother standpoint.

“I would want her to be happy and be fine with what she wanted. But, that isn’t the same as helping two guys trying to court her.”

“Now add what you know of the relationship between Evie and Max.”

Bull could see the wheels turning in Cullen’s mind. By his facial expressions, he knew when he came to a conclusion. He confirmed it by grinning.

“He’ll help us.”

“Damn straight. I’m going to call him.”

Bull filled Max in on what had happened and what conclusion the two men came too.

“Damn, that is so hot. Don’t get me wrong Bull, you are so not my type, but Cullen is sexy as the Void and thinking of the two of you together. Mmm-mm.”

“Okay, okay, but get to the real point.” Bull told him.

“I think that Evie would be an idiot to pass up the opportunity. She always loved so freely, which is why I was so concerned when she shacked up with the Seggrit arsehole, so yeah, I’ll help. I won’t lie outright to her, but I’ll help. I think the two of you could make her crazy happy.”

“Or maybe just crazy.”

“Or that.” Max chuckled. “Hey, you should come over tonight and meet some people.”

“People? Or Dorian?” Bulls smirk could be heard through the phone he was sure.

“How did . . . oh, Evie. Yes Dorian, but people too.”

“Not tonight I’m afraid. I need to catch up with my Chargers and try and get some shit done at the office.”

“I hear you. Soon though. And I want to see Take Charge and meet your team one of these days too.”

“You got it,” Bull would love to introduce what was the only family he’d ever known to Max and Evie. “And Max?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks, man.”

“Yeah, yeah. Just don’t fuck this up. I have to work for Cullen after all and I would hate to have to kill the two of you.”

Bull knew it for the not so unserious threat it was. They hung up and Bull looked back to Cullen. He had a smile on his face, already knowing the conversation went well.

“Good,” the blonde said. “I feel better about it now.”

“Yeah.”

It was one more beer and fifteen or so minutes of light-hearted conversation before Evie came back to join them.

“Wow, I so needed that. Thanks for the suggestion Bull.”

“You got it, sweetheart.”

“So?” She asked them. It was Cullen who answered her.

“We’ll both date you, in equal measure.”

“So a date with you a date with Bull etcetera?”

“Pretty much, but also, if you get steamy with Cullen, you gotta get steamy with me too.” Bull told her with a libidinous grin. That made Evie laugh, and although that was the reaction he was going for, he was also serious.

“Makes sense.” Evie looked back and forth between the two of them. “Damn, if that doesn’t make me the luckiest woman in Thedas.”

Bull looked over to Cullen who was blushing, blood going to his face. That just made Bull’s blood go somewhere lower. He echoed Evie’s words with his own thoughts. He was a lucky mother fucker.

“First though, I want to get my building. I don’t want to rush things with either of you. This is moving crazy fast and I refuse to allow my love life to interfere with my firm.”

Evie and Cullen told Bull about the building and about what she wanted to do with it. She also filled him in on some crazy information about Max only being her half-brother.

“Well, damn. Sharleena Trevelyan you kinky little thing.” He chuckled, both totally surprised and not. People rarely did anything that surprised him anymore.

“I know, right.”

“Glad that didn’t mess anything up for the two of you.”

“Maker, no fucking way. He is the best part of my life,” she paused and looked at the two of them, “for now.”

Bull grinned, Cullen blushed again, behind his own smile. It was so charming that he was as jaded as he was and still blushed at the personal attention.

“So, you going to get her in touch with Varric?” Bull asked Cullen.

“That was the plan,” he answered Bull then turned to Evie, “He’s the one I know in the Historical Society.”

“Yes!” Evie cheered. The excitement exuded from her in a rush powerful enough to excite Bull on her behalf. Damn, the fact that Cullen could do that for her, was intoxicating. He could feel the energy and passion come from her and pour into the two of them. Bull discreetly let his hand trail over the other man's leg it was a thank you of sorts. Cullen flinched a little but covered it up by turning toward him.

“You should introduce her to Skinner and Krem, they can start putting out the word about her firm.”

“I plan to. I want to introduce her to all the chargers.”

“The chargers?” She asked him.

“They’re my boys,” he told her and then amended by saying, “and girls, I guess.”

Bull told her about them and what they specialized in. He told her how he got started in the business. Cullen added in here and there having met them all multiple times. He also let his hand linger on top of Bull's still on his thigh.

“Well, I think we all have a lot to process. I know it’s early, but I want to go see Max and talk to him about my building and about Beth.”

They all stood up and walked out together. They got into Cullen’s car and he dropped Evie off at her hotel. She gave each of them a quick kiss but didn’t invite them up. Bull knew she was emotionally exhausted and had a lot to think on.

The silence in the car started off as amicable, but as they became more aware of the other, it started to get rife with tension. Cullen pulled up in front of Bull’s apartment and got out to get his bag out of the back despite his assurances. They stood there for a moment, just looking at each other.

“Come up?” Bull asked. He knew they both wanted to.

“Only for a moment,” Cullen responded.

They got as far as the empty lobby, when Cullen in a show of dominance, dropped the duffle bag and pulled Bull in for their first proper kiss.

It was physical, as it should have been, but there was more. They were friends for years, wanting for years. It was slow, starting with only lips, then a soft caress of tongue. It escalated with soft nips, and Bull let both his hand's cup Cullen’s face. Cullen responded with his hands holding the back of Bulls neck tighter and closer. The pent up . . . everything, was coming out with a desperation that Bull didn’t know he had in him. They explored each other’s mouths with alacrity. And in the same way it started, it ended.

The both of them were breathing heavily with desire. When Cullen did finally speak his voice was mellifluous.

“I think, we shouldn’t do anything more until we know what the future holds.”

As much as Bull wanted otherwise, Cullen was right.

“Yeah. I know.”

He laid a soft kiss on the other man’s kiss-swollen lips and smacked him on the ass as he picked up his bag and went toward the stairs. He looked back to say, “I can’t wait,” with a huge grin on his face.

He thought it before and he will keep thinking it. He is a fucking lucky man.

 

Chapter Text

Evie was happy. She was comfortable in taking the suggestion to date them both. She knew at some point she would be able to decide. She wouldn’t drag it on for too long. But getting to know each other was important in any relationship. Part of her thought that she would be leading them on, but they both agreed to it. She knew 100% that she couldn’t sleep with either of them until she decided which of them to be with. That would be so unfair.

Her libido disagreed. Her body thrummed with need. It was stupidly unfair how sexy these two men were, each so different, each of them making her want, fuck. Maybe she should investigate one of those tantric massages. They are supposed to help relieve sexual energy, or so she heard. She was riding in the back of a carriage, she should buy stock in the company she used them so much. Then she had an idea.

“Excuse me, can I change my destination?”

“Sure, where are we going?”

“Your car is pretty nice, where did you get it?”

“Isn’t she beautiful. She is a Ferelden Forder. Made here in Ferelden, obviously, and super reliable. Some people don’t like them because they are everywhere, but they are one of the best cars on the market. I got her at Redcliff Motors. You look like you would be more of an Amaranthine Charger or Tirashen Swiftwind kind of person.”

“I have no idea. I have been driven around so much that I don’t keep up on the current makes and models.”

“Well, the Charger is sleek and impressively spirited, but not unruly. And the Swiftwind is a pretty little thing with the ability to correct its driver and park for you.”

“You sound like you know cars.” Evie told him.

“Yeah, I dabble.”

“Remind me, what’s your name?” Evie asked him.

“Dennet. It’s nice to meet you, Evie.”

She had forgotten for a moment that her information was on display for him.

“Pleasure is mine.” Evie honestly told him, “So I have a weird question for you.”

“Shoot.” Dennet said.

“Well, I don’t know much about cars and I am moving here and using a carriage about four times a day.”

“Say no more. Let me turn around, I’ll take you to Redcliff.”

“That’s great, but if I pay for your time, could you help me?”

Dennet laughed. “Yeah, I’ll help you. I am sure we can find you the perfect transportation. I should show you the Desert Lightning we just got in. It’s a little flashy, fierce and fast, but you strike me as the kind of person that doesn’t mind drawing attention to themselves.”

Evie processed what he said and laughed. “Please tell me you own the place.”

“I own the place.”

“And you drive because?”

“I like people and sometimes I drive just to release the stress of the company.”

“Hey, everyone needs an outlet.”

Dennet and Evie talked as they drove toward his lot. He was a gruff older man who told it like it was. Or like he saw it anyway.

“You’re too nice a girl to leave everything behind and start over.” He said.

“I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean, but I am here finding my own way.” Evie told him what she was going to do with the old building downtown. He whistled.

“That’s sure something.” That was all he said for a while, he was contemplating in silence until they arrived at their destination. “I tell you what Evie, I will give you wholesale on any car you choose, if I can send some friends and family to you.”

“I couldn’t do that. I have nothing established yet. I have no idea when I could start taking clients.”

“I understand that, but I know investments, and this is a good one.”

Evie thought it over for a moment. “Alright Dennet, you have a deal.”

They parked in his lot and shook hands.

“I knew I liked you lass.”

He showed her the colorful and powerful Sharp a pretty rare muscle car. She drove the fast Desert Lightning, which she was pretty sure was Beth’s car. She looked long and hard at the Charger, but when she saw it she fell in love.

It was purple with pink undertones. It looked like a stereotypical feminine version of killer chrome. It was gorgeous.  The Wild Hart

“That is not a stock car.” She told Dennet.

“No, some lady had it commissioned and then went bankrupt before she could take ownership. It is a Wild Hart. It is tamed, but not broken. Nor could it be.”

Evie thanked Dennet, wrote him a check and drove her beautiful new car to the Alexius home. Dorian saw her first.

“Well, aren’t you full of surprises.” He said.

“Do you like it?”

“Darling, it is so you.”

He called the others out to ooh and ahh over her new car. She felt independent and sexy. Next was the building.

She texted Cullen to see when a meeting could be set up with Varric. He told her he would arrange it soon. In the meantime, she made an appointment for a local credit union in Skyhold. If the was going to be her home, she would support it. She would transfer all her accounts tomorrow. On Bull’s recommendation, she made an appointment to meet with a Realtor.

“She’s a real Bitch, but the best in the business. Oh, and don’t tell the Ma’am that I called her a bitch.”

It had made Evie laugh. Bull must have had great respect for Vivienne de Fer to garner that reaction. She would see her tomorrow afternoon and was more than excited. It was time to move forward. Everything else almost took the back burner, but every time she talked to Bull or Cullen over the next few days, she grew restless. She had plans to see Bull Thursday to see his business and meet his team. She knew that they would be great partners in cheering for the little guy. Then she would see Cullen on Saturday. He told her to dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. She didn’t know what that meant, so she went to buy jogging shoes, as she left her other pair in Ostwick.

The other thing she had to deal with was her mother. It was time to come clean. Her bank accounts were freshly moved. She had also used daddy’s credit card to buy furniture for her home, which she had delivered to a storage facility.

“Evelyn Trevelyan. You are still in Skyhold, shopping up a storm. I thought you were going to Orlais to do that. I don’t know what could possibly have such a draw at an Antivan Imports store. I hope your brother isn’t having undue influence on you. I may have to call you home. But tell me all about it. Tell me what you purchased my dear.”

Evie saw the veiled threat and was tempted to spill everything, you mean my half-brother, she would say. I don’t think he is doing anything but shedding light on my mother.

But for now, … she would wait.

“It was such a cute store mother. I bought these amazing pumps, a purse and briefcase matching set, and a few gifts for the family.” Evie knew that the fewer thing she purchased when spending what she did on her furniture, would make her mother respect the store.

“I had no idea Ferelden had such fashion-forward places to shop.”

“I know, I didn’t either.”

“Have you seen your friend since he returned a few days ago.”

Andraste, was Sharleena having him followed?

“Only once.” Evie wasn’t sure why she was trying to placate her mother. It was just so natural after all these years. Surely, she was stronger than this?

She convinced herself she was waiting for the opportune time.

“Evelyn it sounds like you are having a good time, but if you aren’t going to continue to travel to other places, I feel that it would be a better use of your time to come set up your office here.”

“Really? I didn’t realize you needed me so much.” Evie could manipulate almost as well as her mother.

“It’s not that per se. It is just that your sister has been acting unusual lately, and you always seem to bring out the best in her.” It was a backhanded compliment to be sure.

Mother was good. It wasn’t that Evie had brought out the best in Beth, it was that she made her competitive and . . . well, Evie didn’t know how to describe it now that truth was brought to the surface.

“I’ll consider it. You know I really wanted to take some time to relax.”

“Yes, but I don’t know that relaxing with a policeman is the best use of your time.”

Really, this was about Max. Oh, maybe mother didn’t want me to find out that he was from another man. An interesting thought for later.

“Don’t worry, I am doing much more site seeing and shopping than being with Max.” That was true. Though they saw each other every day, she spent more time away from him than with him. He was caught up with Dorian and Felix, which was wonderful, and Evie was making plans and looking for a temporary place to stay.

“Well, be sure to keep me updated.”

There was no goodbye, her mother left it at that, didn’t wait for a response and hung up.

So much for coming clean. Andraste’s freckled arse cheeks. Evie didn’t know how much longer she could hold her off. It didn’t matter in the long run, but it truly was easier to keep her mother at bay than it was to confront her. She would do it eventually, she would have to. But not yet.

She drove her Hart to meet Vivienne at her building. She was tall and regal enough that she could have been wearing a tea towel and you would still know she was someone. Her dark chocolate skin was flawless, her full lips in a perfectly neutral expression. She would neither smile or frown, her brows would raise, but never a wrinkle would grace her brow. Her hair was so short as to be almost non-existent. It was a fashion statement and a dare all at once.

She was condescending, arrogant and over authoritative. Evie wanted to dislike her, but it was obvious she knew her stuff as they walked through. So much so that she had to respect the woman.

“You are quite set on this my dear?” She asked.

“Of course.” She responded.

“I do hope you’re up for this, it isn’t something any average persona could take on.”

“Look Madame De Fer, I appreciate your expertise, but I don’t think any of this is any of your business.”

“Good, you’ll need spirit to take this on. Don’t let anyone talk down to you.”

Evie rolled her eyes internally, Maker. This woman. Evie signed on the dotted line and the building was as good as hers. All that was left was meeting with the underwriter. She was so excited she could squeal. She wanted to share with her favorite people. She didn’t know where Bull was, but she knew where Cullen was.

She drove her Hart way too fast to his precinct.

She parked, and once she got inside it wasn’t hard to find Cullen’s office. She recognized a few of the men on the floor, even got a wave. When it was clear she was on her ways to Cullen’s office she got a whistle, it made her laugh. Nothing could pull her mood down.

Unless it was the very attractive redhead currently sitting on Cullen’s desk.

It was her own fault, she should have waited after knocking instead of assuming he could see her. She was just so excited.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” All three had mirrored expressions of shock. “I’ll just leave.”

Evie heard Cullen call her as she closed the door. It was fine, he should date other people, she was dating two men. She felt crushed and tried desperately not to run as she left.

She would not cry, she would not cry.

She was almost to the inner door when Cullen caught up to her. “Evie, what’s wrong luv?”

She looked at him he seemed genuine in his concern. So, she refused to be disingenuous in return.

“I didn’t know you were dating other people, I should have expected you would be,” her words were coming without breath, if she didn’t pause she wouldn’t chicken out. “I mean if I am going to date more than one person you and Bull should be allowed to too, I just didn’t think I would see it if it was going to happen, which it is, so that’s fine . . .” She would have continued babbling but Cullen stopped her.

“Evie, darling, that was Leliana.”

“Oh.” Was all she could say. Cullen had mentioned her a few times, she worked with or for him, Evie wasn’t sure. She had a wife and a girlfriend, or they had a girlfriend. Whatever it was, Cullen was not dating her.

Evie looked up at him quite sheepishly and they both started laughing.

“Well, what was I supposed to think when she was sitting on your desk like that.”

“Like what?” Cullen was perplexed, he was so innocent sometimes, it made Evie grin.

“Like I was trying to get as close to you as possible, so you could see what I had to offer.” Leliana came around the corner.

“What are you talking about, you always sit on my desk. I stopped trying to thwart you years ago.”

Evie and Leliana looked at each other mirthfully and started to laugh. Evie liked her immediately.

“He has no idea, does he?” Evie asked her.

“No, that’s why I do it.” She responded.

“I am just going to pretend I’m not here, you two are, it seems.” Cullen play-pouted.

“You must be Evie?” Leliana asked.

“I am, a pleasure to meet you Leliana, I’ve heard much.”

They politely chatted for a moment before Cullen interrupted.

“Not that I’m complaining, but why are you here?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I should have called first and asked if it was okay, but I was just so excited I didn’t think about it.”

“It’s fine, it’s good to see you.” Cullen enfolded her in his arms. She was taken away once again by how protected and safe she felt in his arms. “Now what is it you wanted to tell me.”

“I signed the paperwork making an offer on my building.”

“That’s amazing, I am so happy for you.” Cullen’s excitement got her blood pumping again, and just like that, all previous misgivings were gone.

She leaped to Cullen’s arms, forgetting for a moment where they were and kissed him thoroughly. There were lewd remarks and comments almost immediately. It was all in good fun, so Evie did what any self-respecting girl with a sexy-as-sin man would do.

She turned toward them, licked her lips, and gave them all the finger with a huge smile on her face.

According to the comments that she heard, she was breaking their heart, fulfilling their dreams, and stealing their captain away from them. It was again a testament to how they felt about their commanding officer that they were comfortable enough to say things like that.

They walked to his office and Cullen closed the blinds between them and the outside office. He wasted no time to continue tasting her lips vigorously. He kissed her eyelids gently before asking, “Are you seeing Bull tonight?”

That seemed to cool Evie’s thoughts and desires rather quickly.

“Tomorrow night.” She stated.

“Well, I hope you give him such a good show at his place of work. You have to compete with this after all.”

Evie thought he was going to be jealous, but he wasn’t, he was amused. Cullen was so much more confident than her first meeting with him would have predicted.

Cullen smirked at her and chuckled. He sat behind his desk, and rather than sit in the offered chair, Evie followed the earlier example and plopped herself on his desk. Unlike Leliana, she sat much closer to her man. He looked up at her, she gave him a lascivious grin, he blushed. It was so sexy and cute.

“Now,” ahem, Cullen cleared his throat, “I probably need to get back to work, unless there was something else.” He looked up at her, ever the gentleman. And wiped her lipstick off from just below her lower lip with his thumb. She was sure it was her lipstick because she had to return the favor and ran her thumb over his lips. She then leaned over and kissed him softly to prevent undoing their previous efforts.

“I will see you later.” She said saucily as she jumped off his desk. “And let me know when Varric gets back to you.”

“I will. See you soon.” The look he gave her sent anticipatory chills down her spine.

Next was back to the Alexius home to give the good news to what was inevitably becoming her family.

“I did it! It’s mine.” She yelled as soon as she walked into the building. She raced into the living room where everyone usually was. She was met with an unexpected sight.

Dorian was crying on Max’s shoulder, Alexius had tears streaming down his face. Felix was . . . where was Felix?

Oh, Maker, no.

“Where’s Felix?” She asked the room, terrified about what the answer could be.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Evie watched everyone’s faces, Dorian and Gereon stained with tears. Felix was nowhere to be seen. What was going on?

They were laughing, Gereon was beaming. Max rushed over to her.

“I’m a match, Evie. I’m a match.” He was so excited he picked her up and swung with her around the room. “Whoever the motherfucker was that got our mother pregnant, must have some Tevinter background, because Felix can have my kidney.”

As if summoned by his name, Felix came out of the bathroom. He was grinning bigger than she had ever seen him. Max let Evie down and she ran to him.

“I’m so happy for you Felix.”

“I never thought it would happen. I had resigned myself to it. I had been determined to enjoy my last days and was so happy to make new friends and see Dorian happy.” Evie was still clinging to him, her face in his neck, so his words were slightly muffled. “But there is one problem.”

Evie stepped back and looked at him. “What’s wrong?”

“Now I have to start planning a future.” He was grinning.

It wasn’t that the comment was so funny, it wasn’t his grin; it was the release of so much pent-up sorrow that had everyone laughing so hard they cried. Gereon started humming a tune and soon everyone was dancing together, and tears were still flowing.

This was the best day.

Chapter Text

Once they had all settled down, Gereon decided to order Pizza. His research assistant was coming in today. In Gereon’s research into Felix’s disease, he had made some interesting breakthroughs and they received a grant to continue the line of research. Considering the disease was genetic, he wanted to make sure now more than ever, any of Felix’s future children would have options.

There was so much power in the air. It whispered around them all, a constant buzz flowing through their minds. No matter what was said or discussed while this power was present, it didn’t matter, it would stay their companion.

It was joy.

Evie told them all about her building. Told them about Vivienne De Fer and her nose in the air attitude. She told them about meeting Leliana and that had them all roaring in laughter once again. They talked about her plans and Felix was excited to be able to watch it happen.

“So, tomorrow is your date with Bull?” Max asked her out of the blue.

“Yep, I am going to meet up with him at his work and meet his friends before going out.”

“Aww, jealous,” Max whined. “I can’t believe you get to meet them before I do. I’ve known Bull longer and heard all about them.”

“Hos before bros, I guess.” Evie poked him in the side laughing.

“If I know one thing, I know that Bull does not think of you as a ho.” Max was ruffling Evie’s hair, but his carefree actions didn’t deter the seriousness of his words.

“I know.” Evie laid her head on his shoulder. “I never asked how you felt about this.”

“About what princess?”

“About me dating two men.”

“Well I don’t know about Max, but I happen to think it’s delicious. The commanding blonde with a soft heart vs. the large and flirty lover who can’t text worth a damn.” Dorian's words oozed drama. “They may make a movie out of it darling.”

He sat down next to Max and snuggled into him. Max put his arm around the man automatically, like he had been doing it for years instead of not quite a week. Evie sincerely hoped they weren’t moving to fast to hold it. It was good to see her brother happy, but she hadn’t forgotten that she was going to get to the bottom of Dorian's past.

“I think it’s good for you princess,” Max told her. “They are both great people and because of the way you met them both, it’s natural and important to date them both while you get to know them. You were always better than Seggrit, we always knew it, so now that you have some great people vying for your attention, make the most of it. Enjoy their company, hell enjoy their bed if you want.”

“What? You think I should sleep with both of them?” Evie saw Dorian smirk at Max before he replied.

“Well, not at the same time. Not yet anyway.” Max was teasing her, she knew that. But fuck if she didn’t just get a case of WPS. (Wet Panty Syndrome)

“Andraste’s knickers Max, that’s not what I meant, and you know it.” She hit his arm, which just made he and Dorian laugh more.

“Not that you asked my opinion, but I’d love to share it.” Felix asked.

“Of course, I would love the opinion of someone who has more than cotton between their ears.”

“Hey, I take offense to that.” Max pouted, “Dorian has way more than fluff between his ears.”

“Of course I do. I am a brilliant man, only outdone by one other. And he should always give his opinion.”

Felix very slightly preened at the other man’s comments. Evie knew that he was smart, Dorian had told them all several times, but she was quite interested in what his field was. But as he opined, she put that thought on the back burner.

“If you are talking about being in a committed relationship for a length of time, then physical intimacy is important. You might have steamy make-out sessions, but if you are truly trying to decide between the two of them, then sexual compatibility is an important factor. Having your needs met in bed isn’t the backbone of a relationship, but if they aren’t being met, it could turn sour.”

“Damn.” Evie knew he was right. She hadn’t been with many men, and she had orgasmed more with her toys than with any of them. “I don’t even know what my needs are.”

“And this is my cue to leave.” Gereon announced, “Don’t take this the wrong way my dear, but I have no desire to listen to you speak with my son about physical intimacies of any sort.” With that, he stood to leave. He stopped to give Felix a kiss on his temple. “Today was a good day. I will set up meetings with the doctors for the two of you tomorrow.”

“Good Night, Father.” He watched him leave the room before turning back to Evie, “What do you mean you don’t know what your needs are?”

Evie looked at her brother who knew pretty much everything about her and her sex life, he nodded at her.

“I’ve always thought of myself as a sexual person. I’m a horrible flirt and have been called a blue baller more than once. I almost take pride in it.”

“Why is that?” Felix asked.

“It makes me feel powerful and desirable. I like to touch, I love to kiss, but once you have sex, I feel like people want to own you.”

“That makes sense.”

“So, as a result, I haven’t had very many sexual relationships. Though many people think I am loose because of how I act toward men.”

“Evie, darling, I know just what you mean,” Dorian told her. “The power is that you have something others want and only you can choose to give it.”

“Exactly.”

“So, figure it out.” Max told her.

“Just like that?”

“No, not just like that. You can start with what you don’t like. I know you have experience with that.” Max’s look was full of meaning. Like he still wanted to have a conversation with her. Maybe she could confide in him. Now that it was so long over, it shouldn’t be too bad.

“Yes,” Felix interjected, “then go to what you would be interested in trying. One of the most important things about sex is communication. What you like, how you like it, what you don’t like, and what you’re willing to try.”

It made so much sense that Evie had to ask. “Okay, I know you are brilliant, but what are you brilliant in exactly? Because I feel like I’m being psychoanalyzed.” Felix laughed at that.

“Sorry about that. I was trying to help.”

“No, it’s good, it made a lot of sense, you aren’t by chance a phycologist, are you?”

“One of my doctorates is in Psychology, yes, but I swear I’ll only use it for good.” He was laughing, and so was everyone else.

“Actually, I was thinking that I could use a therapist of some sort in my firm. What do you think?”

“That’s an amazing idea Princess. You are so . . . good.”

Evie laughed at him, but he wasn’t laughing back. “I can be naughty when I want to be.” Evie didn’t like how serious the mood was getting. The room was laughing again, which was her goal.

There were times for serious thoughts, and after tonight’s revelations, it was time for joviality.

“How long do you think you will be out Max, for surgery?”

“Hard to say?” That was man speak for ‘I have no idea’ we all looked at Felix.

“About five days in the hospital then home recovery for a week. Everything for Max after that should be living as usual. Don’t drink excessively, stay hydrated, keep exercising. That sort of thing.”

“Drink less? Void, is it too late to back out?” We all knew Max was teasing, but Evie knew he didn’t drink too much anyway.

“It’s not like you drink that much anyway.” Evie hit him in the shoulder as a good sister should.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this Amatus.” Dorian was incredulous.

“Hey, it’ll save Felix, how could I not. And you still haven’t told me what that means.” Max leaned toward Dorian to give him what started as a chaste kiss. It didn’t stay that way though.

Evie watched as hands started getting involved, then tongues, and that . . .

“Well gentlemen, that is my cue to leave.” She stood to leave which promptly prevented the couple from groping each other. They stood and gave hugs all around.

“I’m so happy for you Felix. You are an amazing person, and I am so glad my mother is a whore so you have a donor.” He laughed at that, which was the intention.

“I don’t know where I would be without you and Max in my life, and in Dorians. Honeste autem secum tria sunt optima elit. Ego semper habuit patrem, sed amicos? Alia sunt. Mirabilis es.” (Honestly, you three are the best things to have come along right now. I have always had my father, but friends? They are different. You are amazing.)

“Te miris merentur.” (You deserve amazing.)

“You’ll make me cry and ruin my liner. Stop it.” Dorian hugged Evie and whispered to her in Rivain, “Dobbiamo avere un appuntamento con te e me. A metà tra i tuoi uomini, si?” (We need to have a date you and I. Sometime in between your men, yes?)

“Sì, mio bellissimo uomo. E me lo dirai?” (Yes, my beautiful man. And you will tell me?)

“Qualunque cosa. Allora puoi aiutarmi a decidere cosa dire a Max.” (Everything. Then you can help me decide what to tell Max.)

“Ovviamente. Grazie per la tua fiducia.” (Of course. Thank you for your trust.)

“You know you’re just making me want to learn Rivaini right?”

“Good luck Max, it’s a hard language. Why don’t you focus on learning Tevene. I would start with the word Amatus.” Evie told her brother as they hugged goodbye.

“Hey, now. Don’t be giving away my secrets.”

“No worries, Dorian. Max likes to anticipate. He won’t look it up. He will wait for you to tell him what it means.”

“I like that in a man.”

“Stop, you like everything about him, Dorian. Be honest man.” Felix chimed in.

“You’re no fun, Felix. You won’t let me torture him, just lay everything out there for him.”

“You already did that when you called him Amatus,” Evie whispered in his ear. “Max might not know, but the rest of us? We all know.”

With that Evie left and drove back to her now overly large suite.

Without Max there, it was empty. It was too big. Evie didn’t think she could do another week in the large area by herself. It was way too much. She looked around at the waste of space and opulence. The cost of the piano in the room is worth three cases maybe four.

Cullen said it well, the suit was bigger than some apartments. She would have to look for a less opulent and smaller place to start from while her building was under construction. She should ask Bull for some ideas. He said it himself, his team would watch hotels often. Since it would be on her dime, she needed something she could use for the long term, that was livable, but not super expensive.

It was crazy, how both men were in her thoughts within the same moment. Two different people, both adding to her life, both not only supportive of what she wanted to do but interested in helping. How was she going to choose?

Maybe it was like Felix said, maybe it would end up being based on sexual compatibility. She had a quick flashback to her conversation with Max earlier.

“What? You think I should sleep with both of them?” Evie saw Dorian smirk at Max before he replied.

“Well, not at the same time. Not yet anyway.” Max was teasing her, she knew that.

What did that even mean, sleep with them together? They were both such Alpha males, she couldn’t imagine it.

That was a lie, she was lying to herself. She was no stranger to watching porn, and threesomes have been something she watched more than once.

Could it be like that in real life, she thought to herself as she drew a bath and dropped a bath bomb in. She thought of the two men in her life as she got ready to soak her day away. Bull and his chocolate skin and mocha gaze. Flirty and self-assured. A horrible texter, but a great listener. He could look at her and know what was on her mind.

Then there was Cullen. She slipped into the hot water. He was light compared to Bull’s dark. Golden hair and honied eyes, a beautiful mouth and a killer smile. Unsure yet confident. Maker, if she didn’t fantasize about having both men. One in her mouth and one in her pussy. Damn. Evie reached down. The water did nothing to lubricate, but that couldn’t stop her fantasies.