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“Your favorite customer is here,” a fellow waitress whispered into Helena's ear as she walked by, handing in her most recent food order. Glancing over her shoulder, Helena cursed aloud as she shifted her gaze forward again.

“No, don't you fucking-...Put him somewhere else, anywhere else, put him in the fucking bathroom, just get him out of my section.”

“Yeah, 'cause he's gonna listen to me,” the co-worker sighed as she looked back at the table in question. “I don't know what your problem is. He is so-”

“Yeah, you don't know what my problem is, just make him m-” Helena froze as she heard the detective's voice bellow from the other end of the room, calling her out by name.

“Why don't you just go serve him...or service him, whate-”

Helena was about to give an especially cutting retort, but the sound of her own name being called out again from across the restaurant gave her pause. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of embarrassing her a third time. Grasping a stack of menus, she slapped them across the back of her fellow waitress' head before turning on her heel to step back into the dining area, moving swiftly and ignoring the eyes of the other patrons that watched her stride by.

Two of the three officers flinched as she slapped down the menus when she reached the table, all but the source of her aggravation, who displayed no notice of her irritation. “Couldn't find another empty table?” she whispered as she looked toward the other officers as they reached slowly for the menus.

“This one's my favorite,” officer Malone answered with a crooked grin as he kept his eyes trained on her. As the other officers disappeared behind the laminated sheets of text, Helena finally cast her view toward a pair of hazel eyes.

“What can I get you to drink,” she asked, no hint of kindness in her voice.

“Oh...beer...in a bottle, with the cap still on.”

“Why, you think I'm gonna spit in it?” she whispered, and he quirked his eyebrows.

“I wouldn't put it past you,” he answered, and she rolled her eyes before casting them to the other officers.

“And you two?”

They stared at each other briefly before one of them spoke up, “Um...same for us.”

She nodded, glancing back at Malone before stepping away from the table, the detective catching what sounded like “My tax dollars at work” as she walked away.

* * *

The hours passed, the three policeman slowly dwindling to just one as the other two gradually excused themselves from the uncomfortable situation, departing for the evening, leaving Malone behind to nurse his fifth bottle as the restaurant cleared out. He was brought out of his thoughts as the sound of irritated steps over a worn carpet drew nearer. Helena placed the ticket against the table, waiting for him to acknowledge her.

“We're closing, Terry, you need to leave.”

Malone smiled as the sound of his name in her soft voice, “Did you finally calm down?”

“Fu-...,” she stifled her own profanity as she closed her eyes, drawing in a breath as she opened them again. “Just pay your bill, please.”

Please,” the officer repeated as he reached his right hand into his back pocket, drawing out his wallet. Helena could not help but notice for the first time that evening the large bandage on his upper arm, mostly obscured by his t-shirt sleeve.

“What, uh...what happened to your arm?” she inquired, and Malone glanced at the bandage before returning his eyes to the inside of his wallet, dragging out a few bills.

“A knife happened,” he stated as he pushed the cash toward the edge of the table. “I'm surprised you care-”

“I didn't say I cared,” she cut him off, grabbing up the money and the ticket again. As she began to take a step away from the table, she was forced to pause as she felt a large hand reach out and grasp her wrist, not painfully, but not giving any option for escape, either.

“All that anger...it's not good for you. Seems like you need an outlet to let go of that...frustration,” Malone's voice was unnecessarily low, but she caught all his words clearly. “Sounds like you need to relieve some stress.” Helena gave a yank against his grip, but he didn't budge.

Let go of me,” she whispered as she leaned in closer, her eyes focused on an invisible spot on the table. Much as he angered her, she knew it was dangerous just to look into his eyes.

“I could help you resolve that stress,” the officer's voice caressed her ears, and she closed her eyes defiantly before jerking her arm again in an attempt to get out of his grip.

Yeah...you could help me...by staying away from me,” she practically growled.

Sit,” Malone said suddenly, ignoring her request. She was on the edge of saying 'No' when her eyes finally caught sight of his, a look that told her he would not accept defiance giving her pause.

Swallowing consciously and casting a look around the restaurant for help, finding no other patrons or employees in her immediate view, she stepped around the table and sat down in the booth-style seat opposite the detective, his hand releasing the grasp on her wrist to take notably gentler her own hand in his instead. “Now...I did you a favor-”

I didn't fucking ask you to do me a favor,” she hissed, his intimidating demeanor temporarily losing its grasp on her. “In fact, I specifically asked you not to do me that favor. My cousin belongs in fucking prison and you choose to mysteriously lose evidence and let him back on the streets...and now you act like a fucking owe you something.”

“You kiss your mother with that mouth-”

“We're estranged,” she cut in when he quipped at her language. “So...” she exhaled audibly, glancing around the restaurant once more before landing on his gaze, “What do I have to do to get you to leave me alone.”

“You sure that's what you want?” the detective inquired, leaning forward across the table when she tried to scoot closer to the upholstered surface behind her.

“Don't I sound sure?” she countered, dodging his gaze once more. His eyes made her question her own words, not that she'd admit it aloud. Why did he have to be so goddamn-

“A date,” he suddenly uttered, and she finally looked back up to his eyes. “Let me take you out.”

“I don't want to-”

“I think you do,” Malone cut her off, “You're just too proud to admit it.”

Helena glanced around again, relieved to see a co-worker had entered the dining area, moving around the room to wipe down tables. “I think you harassing me at my job is enough time spent togeth-”

“When's your next night off?” the detective cut in, and when she became silent and shifted her gaze away from him, he looked back over his shoulder to the only other soul in the room. “When's her next night off?” The busboy looked confused and nervous, looking around as if to confirm he was the one being spoken to. “Why don't you go hunt down the manager for me-”

“Thursday!” Helena finally huffed as her eyes met his again, snatching her hand out of his grasp while he was distracted. “I'm off Thursday.”

“Was that so hard?” Malone rasped, a grin pulling as his lips. “I'll pick you up at your place-”

“Oh, absolutely not. How stupid do you think I...I'll...meet you somewhere. Somewhere neutral,” she declared, the detective nodding, “somewhere well lit...with lots of witnesses.”

 

***A few weeks later ***

 

How do I keep letting him con me into this , Helena thought as she stared at her reflection in the mirror of a public restroom. Against all her better judgment, she'd shown up at the agreed time for their first date, and it had been...almost pleasant. A second date, the following week had come and gone peacefully. She kept telling herself that enough was enough, that surely even he could agree that any perceived debt he felt she owed him was paid in full. Yet here she was, standing in the restroom of the local movie theater, on a Wednesday night, just in time for the last showing of some atmospheric horror film. Their first two dates had been well lit, among a multitude of people, setting her mind somewhat at ease, and she still had not even allowed him to meet her at her home. The dark emptiness of a theater auditorium on a less than busy night...it was a level of intimacy she wasn't sure she was ready for. As surprisingly easy as their first couple of dates had gone, she still didn't trust him. He was far too persuasive and cunning for her liking, and it made her feel too pliable, too weak-willed. She didn't trust herself around him, and his influence.

The buzzing in her pocket drew her out of her thoughts, and she dug in her jeans to drag out her phone.

< d o I need to put out a missing persons alert >

She stared down thoughtfully, considering before she responded, < Yes, I've been kidnapped > Silence for a few moments before her phone buzzed to life again.

< m ore blue raspberry ICEE for me >

She tapped at her screen as she slipped out of the restroom and down the long hall toward the specified auditorium, < You really are a crooked cop > . She wondered briefly how he'd respond, regretting the collection of words immediately. His corruption was no secret to her, it was what had repelled her from him so vehemently in the first place, but she didn't need to rub it in when she was about to find herself so overwhelmingly alone with him. The seconds seemed to drag on as she walked down various hallways, searching out the designated room. When her phone finally buzzed, she swiped the screen hesitantly, but breathed out a relieved sigh as she read the words he'd sent along.

< good girls like bad boys >

Silencing and pocketing the device, Helena finally passed through the door of the auditorium and walked along the secluded aisle to look upon the rows of seats, less than a dozen patrons in the oversized room, and up in the second to top row, sat her date. Glancing around at the other inhabitants, she began to make her way up the steps, glaring at the officer as he brought the straw of her frozen drink to his lips.

“You don't even like blue raspberry,” she whispered as she finally reached him, extracting the clear plastic cup from his grasp with one hand as she pushed back down the adjustable arm rest he'd raised between their seats with the other hand. “Nice try. You're lucky we're even sitting in the same row.” The officer watched her silently as she settled in, taking a sip of her frozen drink as she directed her gaze toward the trailers that started to display on the large screen. Malone withdrew a flask from inside his jacket and took a quick swig before pocketing it again and reaching his arms out in either direction, hands resting on the tops of the seats as he leaned his head back and took in the visuals of the screen.

By the time the end credits began to roll, Helena found herself wrapped up in the leather jacket Malone had offered her as he took notice of the chill in the room that obviously bothered her, and the plastic barrier between them had long since been lifted, the young woman pressed surprisingly comfortably against his side as his hand rested on her shoulder.

* * *

“Come on...come on, please be good, just...fuck!”

A knock on her window made Helena slump back in the driver's seat of her car, and she stared up at Malone through the glass. As she'd yet to let up on her insistence that they meet up at the locations of their dates and not each other's homes, she'd driven herself and her car was not cooperating.

“Does this mean I get to see where you live?” he inquired with a grin that did nothing to ease the tension she felt. When she ignored him and reached for her phone, selecting a ride share app, the officer practically yanked the car door open. “Would you...would you stop acting like I'm gonna fucking violate you the second we're alone together?” Helena stared at him from inside her car, peering up into his hazel eyes in anxious contemplation. “Come on, you don't make enough to waste your money on fucking Uber, let me take you home.” Malone's brows rose as Helena's vision drifted down his body toward his jeans.

“I want your gun...and your handcuffs.”

“Are you ser-”

“Yes, I'm serious. I don't want your bullets, but I want the gun.”

“And the cuffs?”

“And the cuffs,” she insisted. After several moments of stillness and silence, she began again, insistent. “Terry, please.”

The officer looked around the mostly vacant parking lot of the theater and back toward his car, considering. “Come on, let's go.'

“Te-”

“They're in the glove compartment, let's go.”

* * *

The air was heavy with uncomfortable silence as Malone drove along the highway, his date at his side, clutching his emptied pistol and cuffs.

“You don't make it easy, do you,” he finally mumbled, his eyes not leaving the virtually empty road.

Helena shifted her gaze to him before returning her stare out the window to her right, “Would you be pursuing me so relentlessly if I did?”

Her words made his lips quirk up into a half grin, “How can I resist a woman that blatantly spits in my beer?”

“I never-”

“Sure you didn't,” his grin widened as he glanced at her, saw her shake her head as she tried to control her own smile. “You look pretty cozy in that jacket.”

“It smells like you,” she mumbled without thinking, and instantly wanted to shrug it off.

“Yeah?” his eyes darted her way again, “What do I smell like?”

“Forget it-”

“Nah, what do I smell like?”

“It's just...your cologne, and whatever you put in your hair...and a hint of whiskey,” she glanced his way before continuing, “...and arrogance...Eau de Corrupt Cop.”

Malone let out a soft grunt as he returned his attention to the road, “We were having a nice conversation.”

“I know, I'm sor-...No, I'm not,” she leaned her head to the side to stare at him directly. “I'm still mad at you.”

“I know.”

“If you'd just done your job like you're supposed to instead of purposefully losing evidence-”

“Darlin', I know,” Malone practically whispered. “I should have taken you at your word. Most people don't wanna see their family locked up-”

“He's been getting away with criminal bullshit since he was in high school,” she groaned, exasperated as she wished for the conversation to turn to any other subject. “Finally something sticks and you...” she dropped the empty pistol and the cuffs noisily to the carpeted floor at her feet as she closed her eyes and leaned her head back. “I don't...I-”

“I know what you're going to say-”

“No, you don't,” she whispered, tilting her head to peer at him again. “I don't wanna be angry at you anymore. It's exhausting.”

Malone shifted his eyes toward her briefly before returning them to the road again, the slightest hint of a smile pulling at his lips.

* * *

“This is...cozy,” Malone muttered as he stepped inside the small house, barely larger than a studio apartment.

“Well...tip better,” Helena mumbled in response as she sat down her purse and keys, crouching down to untie her canvas shoes as Malone let his weight rest against her closed front door in the darkness. When she tugged her shoes off and tossed them aside, standing back up to full height, she turned to see his silhouetted figure still leaning against her door. “Well, I'm home so...thank you...”

“Of course,” the officer answered, hazel eyes watchful, unable to ignore the renewed apprehension in her voice.

“So...I enjoyed the movie,” she continued, “and, um...I'll see you n-”

“Come here,” the officer suddenly spoke up, his confident voice leaving little room for argument.

“I don't think s-”

“Or I can come to you,” Malone answered abruptly, taking his weight off the wooden panel and beginning to move toward her, Helena taking small steps backward. “You say you don't wanna be angry with me anymore...but you won't even let me kiss you.” Helena's movements paused for a moment, caught off guard by his words, but she took another step back as he began to near closer again. “I can only watch you so long, darlin'...” Bare feet came to a sudden stop as the waitress' back finally met the wall behind her, the officer pausing in his steps just inches from her, “Tell me to leave. Tell me to get out of your home if that's really what you want.”

All the scents she'd described on the way home seemed to hit Helena at the same time, a mix of cologne and fragrant hair products and the lightest bite of whiskey, and Malone inched closer, “I...”

“Tell me you don't want me,” the officer rasped as his hands landed carefully on the young woman's shoulders, pushing lightly at the leather jacket she'd borrowed, sliding it off her shoulders and down her arms and back. “Tell me I revolt you,” he continued, ghosting his fingertips up her freshly bare arms, up over her shoulders, his calloused thumbs brushing the sides of her throat. “Tell me to take my hands off of you,” his large hands tilted her jaw up, leaning in as he watched her close her eyes, the faintest coo escaping her as his lips finally met hers.

Her breaths were shallow as Helena reached slowly up to the officer's hands, their kisses light and unhurried, her thumbs grazing over the veins and following them as they crawled up the lengths of his densely muscled arms. As her fingertips finally traced the jugular veins, working into the coarse hair that darkened his jaw, she felt his tongue dart out against her, tasting her cautiously, as if waiting for her to push him away, as if she could. As his mouth became more insistent, his body pressing in against her, impossibly close, her hands strayed into his thick, dark strands, her mind foggy from his kiss. The smallest whimper of loss escaped her when he finally drew back, his hands reaching up to grasp hers and draw them down to lay flat against his chest.

“Turn around, sweetheart,” he whispered, and her brows knitted together in confusion. “It's okay, baby, just turn around. Trust me.”

“But I don't tr-” she began to whisper, but he captured her lips again, pressing his tongue inside and working against hers as his hands lifted to cup her cheeks. Her breath came in gasps as he finally pulled away again, his lips pressing light kisses against her chin, up along her jaw line, the tip of his tongue darting out to trace over the shell of her ear.

“Turn around,” he pressed again, his mouth beginning to descend down her throat, “I'm not gonna hurt you, darlin', I just want to...relieve the pressure.”

“Pressure?” she repeated, but her body was becoming weak to his beckoning, and as his hands lowered to her waist, guiding her to turn and face the wall, she finally succumbed to his will.

Helena was hyper-conscious of the detective's every touch as he gathered her waves of ginger hair and pushed them over one shoulder before leaning in to press a bristly kiss to the nape of her neck, his hands descending down her sides and around her waist to the button of her jeans and manipulating the fastening open. When her hands immediately sought his out, his mouth returned to her exposed ear, his voice more raspy than usual. “Did you hear my belt unbuckle? Did you hear me lower my zipper?” When she shook her head slightly, he pressed a soft kiss against her throat, “Calm down, baby. This goes as far as you want it to...and if you want my cock, you're gonna have to unwrap it yourself.” When her grip on his hands loosened, he pressed another kiss to her throat, suckling lightly at her flesh as he continued to work at the fly of her jeans, and drawing back as he parted the fabric enough to work the denim down her thighs, careful to leave the panties she wore in place for the moment, slowly dropping to his knees behind her and taking the fabric in his grip with him. When he indicated with his hands for her to step out of the article, she lifted one foot, then the other, with less hesitation than he expected.

Helena's body trembled slightly as Terry ghosted his calloused hands up her smooth legs, the officer more than a little tempted to deliver a light smack to the flesh just beyond the lacy undergarment she wore, but holding back, at least for the moment. He leaned in instead, scraping his dark, coarse whiskers against the supple skin exposed to the air, running the pad of his finger along the edge of the panty and hooking the thin fabric to drag it toward the center to expose more of her skin to him, giving the other side the same treatment. Satisfied with the slightly increased nudity, Terry brushed his palm and fingers against the rounded flesh, raising his gaze to watch for her reaction as he drew his hands back to the center of her, noting the brief tremble of her frame as he ran a single digit experimentally between her slightly parted thighs, his short nail scraping the fabric. “Open up for me, sweetheart,” he whispered, drawing his finger over her clothed flesh again, silently noting the moisture already dampening the fabric.

Looking briefly over her shoulder, Helena glanced down at the man behind her, seemingly fascinated with the scrap of fabric providing the only barrier between them. She swallowed nervously as she parted her legs wider, lifting up on the balls of her feet and tipping her ass up into the air higher as she let her weight press against the wall before her, exposing herself as much as she could to whatever he had planned for her. Terry ran his tongue against his lips as his eyes raked over her body from behind, appreciative of the small act of submission, before leaning forward to run a digit over the lace barrier. The feminine body before him trembled as the light touch once more, lifting her ass a fraction higher, consciously or not, and Terry leaned in closer to press a considerably chaste kiss against the sodden fabric between her legs. The light scrape of his whiskers against the sensitive flesh of her inner thighs caused her to twitch, but she seemed to melt as she felt his lips press feathery touches through the minuscule fabric barrier between them.

Just as he'd kept his tempo slow and careful when he'd kissed her, his touch was steady and cautious as he manipulated her flesh though the thin material. Terry could taste her juices through the soiled cloth between them, and as he felt her hips start to rut lightly of their own accord, her body seeking more satisfying contact, he shifted his kisses to the shapely cheeks instead, lips quirking up at the sound of frustration she tried to bite back. “What's wrong, darlin'?” the officer whispered as his kisses ghosted over her skin, everywhere but the place she needed him most. Helena debated answering, but the sound of metal clicking into place gave her pause, and she felt something cold but blunt-edged against her skin, and a whisper of words, “Hope these aren't your favorite.” The small but adequate knife in his hand sliced easily through the fabric that separated them, and he grasped the ruined scrap of underwear and tossed it somewhere out of sight, dropping the closed knife to the floor, and finally leaned in to give her the contact she'd been craving.

Terry was true to his promises, and even after he'd relieved the pressure that had been building up inside her, he never made the slightest move to suggest she reciprocate the attention, opting to simply hold her as she relaxed in his embrace after he'd lifted her overstimulated form in his arms and carried her half-naked body to bed.

* * *

“Looks like your favorite is back,” Helena heard the voice of her co-worker over her shoulder, but she didn't look past her in irritation as she had so many times before. “I'll see if he'll move, but you know-”

“It's fine,” she whispered before the other waitress could finish. She grabbed a chilled, dark brown bottle as she walked through the kitchen and through the doors to the dining area, striding up to a table with a single occupant. Officer Malone looked particularly relaxed as he came into view, leather-clad arms outstretched in the booth he sat at, his usual spot, his hazel gaze almost imperceptibly softer than usual as he watched her approach. Helena placed the icy bottle on the table as she reached it, glancing around for onlookers before leaning her hip against the edge of the varnished wooden surface.

“What time do you get off,” Terry whispered, conscious and surprisingly respectful of the fact that she wasn't ready to make whatever was happening between them known to the world outside the two of them yet.

“I guess that depends on you,” his brows rose at her words, and her lips quirked into a smile she found increasingly difficult to hold back in his presence over the month that had passed since they'd started dating. “Thirty minutes,” she confirmed when his lips quirked into a half-smile.

“Need a ride?” he asked, sounding less than innocent in his inquiry.

Glancing around to verify once more that they were alone in the room, she leaned toward him, savoring the touch of his soft lips against hers before raising back to full height again. “We'll see...I've got a lot of stress that needs to be relieved.”