Hey, trust me with your life, but not your money or your wife.
Wife? Hawkins said exactly a half hour ago. Thinking about over and over in his head, Lieutenant James Curran drove up and down the streets of Norfolk, Virginia. He couldn't get his ex-wife, Anna Edwards out of his head, or his three-year-old daughter, Malin. It drove him crazy he couldn't see them like he use to every day. He couldn't stand being away from his daughter for so long. He couldn't stand not holding them, and tucking Malin in at night. He dreaded the memories of his lost soul, and lost memories of his lost family.
It wasn't all her fault. It was simply his. He was a Navy SEAL always on the go, never home, and constantly busy in either meetings or on missions. It was hard to keep a good relationship alive when he was never there.
Thinking over and over still, James wound up in his old neighborhood where Anna and Malin still lived in his old house. He turned the corner, and quickly drove and parked in front of the one-story ranch. It was nearly nine thirty at night.
He turned off his black jeep and tossed the keys in his pocket. He just returned from a date with journalist, Clair Vernon, and had a little argument with fellow SEAL, Hawkins. He was tired, and had no idea why on earth he was checking up on Anna this late. He needed to go home and rest, but something in the pit of his stomach wanted to see her just then. He didn't know what for, but he had to see her.
As he walked up the drive walk he spotted another unfamiliar car. A jeep, like his but it was bright blue that you could even see it in the pitch-black night. Very suspicious. He jogged the rest of the way to the front door, and knocked gently to not wake up his daughter if she was sleeping. He figured she was. The door swung open just a little to peep through the crack. Anna poked her eyes out as her smile faded to a straight thin line.
"James?" she opened the door wider. "What are you doing here at this hour?"
"I wanted to say goodnight to Malin. Is she awake?" James asked.
"You know well and good you were the one to set her bedtime, Curran." Anna looked behind her.
James stood on his tiptoes. "Who do you have in there?"
"None of your business," she stuck her nose in the air with a short laugh.
"Oh, it is my business because my daughter is living with you. So, I have to know every little detail that goes on in this house while she's here."
"While she's here? She's always going to be here."
"Where do you think she has the most fun at, huh? Certainly not here when all you do is bring your work and the men you work with home. I'm guessing the man you have in there is a SEAL or someone that has to do with the teams, or the navy."
"Oh, you think you are so damn smart, don't you? I don't have to tell you anything. Now will you please leave? Malin is sleeping. I will have her call you in the morning, that is if you're there or don't have a hangover."
James looked Anna over. "Not good enough." He put his hand on the door and it swung completely open. Anna backed out of the way, still having her hand on the door. She put her head down when James walked inside the house without permission.
He spotted the man quickly sitting on the couch with a glass of wine in his hand. The man sitting down stood up as fast as he could when he noticed James in the doorway.
"Lieutenant Curran?" he said and shook his hand.
James looked back at Anna after releasing his hand from her company. "Private Jacks. I had no idea. I'm sorry to barge in like this. Accept my apology."
"Of course," the young man nodded.
James took in the tall man, his height basically, and smiled. "Well, I won't stay long. I just wanted to say goodnight to my daughter." He looked at Anna and closed his mouth with an unsatisfying expression on his face. "Excuse me." He walked down the hallway, leading toward Malin's bedroom. He heard Anna's soft voice laugh like a schoolgirl, and cracked a smile from the sound of her behavior and the way she presented herself to the young private.
He opened the door and peeked his body inside to not make any sounds. He turned around, closing the door quietly, and looked at his sleeping daughter. She was on top of her blankets, her small legs looked cold. He arched his back, and recovered her body as she slept on her stomach. Her breathing was light, and she looked peaceful. Nothing looked like it bothered her in the world, and she appeared to be having a good dream. He moved her loose hair from her face, and kissed her forehead. He stroked her head, watching her sleep.
"You're daddy's little girl," he whispered. "You're my baby." He kissed her head again, went over the blankets on her tiny body to smooth them down, and walked out of the room as quiet as he entered.
He walked down the hallway again, wounding up in the living room to be greeted by the quickly stood up Private Jacks.
James laughed, "Easy, private, we're not on base. You can act human here in front of me." Jacks nodded and sat back down. James looked from Anna to Jacks. She didn't need him. She didn't want him. Why was she hanging around him? "Well, I'm gonna go." He didn't want to leave. "I'll see you two tomorrow - or around."
"Hey lieutenant, you don't have to go," Jacks said.
Anna stood up with a wine glass in her hand. "Yes, he does, Jacks. Don't you, Curran?"
James looked at her, "No, I guess I don't have to leave right away." He walked around the corner couch and took Jacks's glass of wine. "What are we celebrating here?"
"Curran, you have to go." Anna insisted. "Don't you have that thing you have to do?"
"No, as a matter of fact, I have nothing to do for the rest of night besides sleep, and who wants to do that?" he took a swig of wine. "I don't need to waste my life on sleeping."
"No, you waste your life on drinking and sleeping with hookers, right?" Anna snapped.
Jacks looked at her, and James winked. Jacks then looked at his watch and widened his eyes. "Wow, look at the time. It's late. I should really go." He stood on his feet.
"No, Jacks, I'm sorry. It's Curran who should be leaving, not you." Anna touched his arm.
"It's not him. You just reminded me that I had to do something early tomorrow morning." Jacks walked toward the front door. "I'll call you, Anna." He opened the door, and left Anna hopeless with James standing behind her. They both watched as Jacks turned on his jeep, reversed it, and drove it out of the driveway.
"Jumpy little fellow, isn't he?" James commented.
Anna rolled her eyes and shoved her back into his chest. "Thanks." She turned around and looked at the mess on the kitchen table. "Go home, James. Just leave."
"You were wanting to get laid tonight, weren't you?" James followed her into the kitchen as she started to clean the dining table.
"Huh, I could have done that with or without you, James. You don't need to be my supervisor." She carried dirty plates from the dining room to the kitchen. "I'm just not a hoe with her legs wide-open twenty-four seven. The kind you like."
He helped her, "Why do you think I was so attracted to you when we first met?"
With one hand free, she smacked his arm. "No matter how tough and serious you can be, you still know how to crack the jokes, don't you?"
"I only do it to have a good time and release pressure from every mission. If I don't do that, then I won't be able to go on living. My head will explode."
Anna turned the water faucet on, and began to scrub away on the dirty plates. "I was going to try to have a little fun tonight, but-"
"You can't, Anna, not while Malin is here sleeping. What if she hears something?"
"But I wouldn't because Malin is here. You didn't let me finish my sentence. You never did unless we were in meetings." She looked him up and down. "Besides, where did you come from before you came over here? I can say you actually look decent for a change. Not in your usual khaki uniform, or swamp green jumpsuit."
James rinsed his hands under the water. "I had a date."
Anna swallowed, easing down the anger in her throat. "So, you just come over here and barge into mine?"
"No, I didn't know you had a date."
"You never cared to know anything about me until now. Why?"
"You always do that, you know? You always do." He scrubbed the last dirty plate. "I cared about you through out our entire marriage and I will still care about you even when the divorce is finalized. Just because you're working for the Admiral, a higher rank than me doesn't mean I care any less about you and what we had, and what we created." He dropped the plate in the sink. "Even when you're queen bitch of the universe."
Anna cracked an easy smile. "You're not so kind and gentle as you think you are either, lieutenant." She scrubbed the plate she had in her hand for nearly five minutes now- taking her time. "Just because you're a leader of the one of the top Navy SEAL teams, doesn't mean you don't act like an immature child also. I know you, and that's exactly how you are, and that's exactly why I wanted a divorce because you could never just act like an adult unless you were away from your wife and kid. As soon as you won victory, it was back to being a child again. Cry, cry, cry. Whine, whine, whine...Ouch!" she pulled her hand out of the soapy water to find her index finger gushing with blood. "Damn."
"Let me see," James took her hand and dried it off.
"Careful, dryness hurts too." She ached.
"I know how to handle these kind of situations, thank you." He pulled her hand and she sat in a dining chair. "Stay here and don't move."
"Yes, sir," she saluted with a roll of the eyes.
"Funny," he smiled and walked to the cabinet that held the band-aids.
"You still know your way around the house, I see."
"It wasn't that long ago since I lived here, Anna." He walked back to her, and kneeled. He took her hand, and dabbed it with a dry towel.
"Easy, asshole," she pulled away.
"Now whose acting like the kid?" he reached for her hand again.
"I was taught by a natural."
He smiled and wrapped the band-aid around her finger. He looked up at her, and kissed it. "Better?"
"No. It still hurts."
James remained on his knees, looking into Anna's eyes. "Want me to kiss it again?"
Anna looked at him and narrowed her eyebrows. "Oh my God, you are trying to have sex with me."
"I am not trying to have sex with you." James looked away, "Is it working?"
"No, because I will not have sex with you."
"Again." He reminded her.
"Again. I will not again. I won't."
"You know, it wouldn't be wrong for the same man to have sex with you when that same man is the father of your child. Now, if it were Jacks trying to have sex with you, and I found out that my daughter was sleeping in just the other room, it wouldn't have been pretty to watch my reaction."
"Am I supposed to be scared now?" Anna leaned her face away from him.
"I would be."
"I won't have sex with you and that is my final answer." She stood up and tried to ease away from her ex-husband. "You're tasteless, but great in bed, and I won't do it because I'll fall in love again."
"From just one night of passion?"
"Yeah, that's all it did for me the first time." She drained the water in the sink, and dried her hands off. "I'm tired. Go home." She turned the kitchen light out and walked around the corner to the living room, and switched off two lamps, and left one on. James followed her every step until she turned and caught him. "Goodnight, Curran." She folded the blanket and placed it on the back of the couch. She began to walk down the hallway to her bedroom when James spoke up.
"Let me see your finger again."
"James, goodnight." Anna groaned. As she reached her bedroom door, a pair of hands gripped her waist from behind.
"Let me look at your finger," James whispered.
"What for? You put your band-aid on it. It's fine."
He took control of her waist, and pulled her against the wall as he leaned his body close to hers. He grabbed her hand.
"James, you're not being very friendly."
James looked at her finger and kissed it again. "Does it feel better now?"
"It felt fine after I cut it. The pain went away fast." She could feel his warm breath on her face. It was sweet smelling.
"Pain never heals fast."
She cocked an eyebrow, "Try giving birth with drugs."
James smiled, but it quickly straightened. "I was there, remember?" he lifted up his hand that wasn't attached to hers. "I have the scars to prove it."
"Are you still whining about that little bite scar?"
James leaned further into her face and graced her lips, not kissing. "I had every reason to whine."
"This is a change," Anna said and leaned her face away from his.
"We both had dates on the same night, something went wrong, and we found each other in the end."
James touched her breast over a black lace tank top. He moved his hand further up her chest, touching the frailness of her neck.
"What happened exactly with your date, and why aren't you with her now?" she asked as she sucked in short breaths in between.
"Hawkins," was all James murmured.
"Dale Hawkins?" Anna smiled. "Haven't heard his name in a while. Why? What did he do?"
James closed his mouth with a smile. "He had me paged, and he came and took my place in the date. What a guy, huh?"
Anna laughed, "Well, that was a smart move on his part. Any asshole who gets paged knows he has to leave right then and there no matter what they're doing."
James moved his head back, leaned his eyes down, and stared into her eyes. "Are we in the office?"
"Are we on duty?"
Anna looked at him suspiciously. "No."
James bent down and kissed her lips. He moved his mouth up, and kissed her upper lip before plunging his tongue into her mouth smoothly. He pulled away, and the kiss only lasted but a few seconds. It was enough though to keep the general spinning with stars soaring around her head.
She puckered her lips, wondering where his lips went and why he pulled away. She opened her eyes and stared into James's green ones. The thought of him leaving his date behind didn't exactly thrill her when James wound up at her front door only a half hour after the date ended. "Wouldn't you rather be with her than with me?"
"Drop it, Anna," he mumbled.
"No, really. You didn't want to leave when you got paged. So, why didn't you follow her to her hotel and do what you're doing with me right now?"
"Because, Anna, it's not that kind of relationship." James backed away from her. "You wouldn't understand." He walked down the hallway to the dimmed living room.
"I wouldn't understand? Try me." She followed him.
"I don't want to talk about it." James slumped on the couch. "It's classified."
"Well, look, James, I work for the Admiral who makes all the decision for your SEAL teams. I am the one who informs your boss on the choices for you to go for a mission or not. I am the one who types up your orders. Don't bullshit me with it's classified." She circled the couch, and sat on the coffee table directly in front of him. "I will find out one way or another, Curran."
James looked at his ex-wife and uncrossed his arms. "The woman I was with tonight...her name is Clair Vernon. She's a reporter."
"So, she can give us information we can't get from anywhere else. Not from the CIA, not from anyone. She's all we've got."
"Let me get this straight. You're setting up dates with her at night and contacts during the day until she cracks and gives you information about Shaddee?"
"If you want to narrow it all down to one sentence - yes."
"James, what are you doing? You're playing this woman to get some answers. You're messing with her head and letting her think you have feelings for her. Romantic, interested feelings."
James leaned his head back, "Maybe I do, Anna. If you can bring someone home from where we work together, then so can I."
"She's not going to give you anything. You've been through this numerous times in the board meetings. Why don't you listen?"
James stood up to his full height. "I do listen. I listen to everything, but you just never want to listen to what I have to say. You're too damn strict to even talk to sometimes. Those fucking board meetings aren't all the Admiral's final decision. We all have to agree on something at some point and go from there."
Anna stood up with him. "It wouldn't be just his decision, but everyone else in those meetings are a bunch of croaks. They couldn't help homeless people let alone an entire nation. I don't know why they even volunteered for this sort of thing if they can't get their facts straight. Its drives me insane!"
James raised his arms in the air to hush her up. "Shut up, will ya? Malin's sleeping."
Anna rested a hand on her hip, and the other covered her mouth. "Sorry."
James looked at her then made his way away from her. "No, I'm sorry I ever came here in the first place. And I'm sorry for disrupting your date." He put his hand on the doorknob and turned it.
"James, I'm sorry if you can never get a word in during the meetings. I just try to do my job and hope the Admiral's made the right decisions. I don't mean to ignore you and treat you unfairly, but if that is what it takes to make my life simpler, then I'll do it. It has nothing to do with you." Anna walked toward the door where he stood with his hand on the knob. "And you're still confusing me about why you came here in the first place, and it's not just because you wanted to say goodnight to Malin. You knew when her bedtime was."
James bit his bottom lip. "I don't know why I stopped by. I've had a rough night, then had a fight with Hawkins, spilling the truth why I keep seeing Clair, and now I'm here."
Anna leaned against the in-table with her arms crossed. She hated to do this, but she wanted it real bad. "Then I guess you should come over here and finish what you started in the hallway."
James turned around and stared at his ex-wife. "And what do you think I was starting?"
"You kissed me." She paused, "Yeah, we're getting a divorce, but we're not divorced yet." She walked up to him and kissed him. "You said if our daughter was sleeping, you would rather it be you making love to me than some other guy."
"I did say that."
"And you wouldn't get mad."
James stroked her cheek and kissed her again. "I thought you hated me."
He picked her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist. She shifted her head and deepened the kiss as much as she could. He walked down the hallway, opened the bedroom door, and closed it behind them.