Strangers & Sinners
Part Two
by sarAdora
~~~

It didn't take too long for the police to arrive and take the young men into custody. He knew they would be released in short order. Although their intent was felonious, no real harm had been done and a smart public defender would get them off. The Assistant Director of the FBI busied himself by attempting to change her tire while she answered a few questions for the police and then, finishing his task, confirmed her story.

"I'm afraid your spare tire's flat, too," he told her shaking his head. Women! "When's the last time you checked it?"

"It's not my car. Mine's in the shop. This is a rental."

"A rental with a flat spare tire?" He shook his head in disgust. "Come on," he beckoned. "I'll drive you home."

"Uh, I can't go there right now. I mean..."

Nick looked at her and remained silent, waiting for her explanation. She's a hooker. She doesn't want me to know where she lives. If ever a girl needed to be spanked...

The look on his face was a little unsettling. "It's not a big mystery," she explained. "It's just that my condo... that is, my building... I mean, the building where I... the building has asbestos. While the asbestos is being removed, I'm... ah... temporarily..." Why am I so nervous? I don't even know the man and he's scowling at me.  "Everyone in my part of the building is staying..." She paused to take a breath. "That is, everyone is staying at the Presidential Arms in Arlington until we can move back in."

He doesn't believe me.

I don't believe her.

"Then, I'll take you there. Come on," he gestured impatiently. "You can't stand out here in the cold."

He was right, of course. She was freezing. She followed him to his car and when he opened the passenger door, she sunk into the seat, grateful to be out of the chilling wind.

Neither spoke while he drove to the small Arlington hotel. Verona kept his eyes on the road but he wondered why a girl in her profession didn't know any real curse words. And why hasn't she come on to me... or even offered...

Offered what?  His head voice snorted. Offered her body as a way of saying thanks for helping her? Is that what you thought she'd do? Being a hooker doesn't mean she's a slut!

Mmmm,  he confirmed, but she deserves a sound spanking...

She was exhausted. It had been a full day of meeting clients, trying to meet their personal needs, and trying to please them. The episode with the flat tire and the two young men was the last straw. She couldn't take any more. Will this day never end?  She rubbed her eyes, suddenly feeling each and every event of the last 12 hours weighing heavily on her slender frame. Leaning her head against the back of the seat, she folded her arms across her chest, tucking her hands under her armpits. I'm ready for that bath and that bed. I'll say thank you to Mr. Good Samaritan who looks like he's sucking lemons and goodnight and then...  Her eyes closed and her hands fell to her lap.

~~~

"Look Papa! The tree! It's so big and so beautiful," she squealed with delight. Slipping her hand into his larger one, she pulled her father through the crowds at Rockefeller Center. "Oh Papa, Christmas is my favorite time of year."

"It's very pretty, kitten, but beauty fades. Enjoy it while you can. Remember your lessons," he admonished the beautiful 8-year old child at his side. "Beauty is not important. Money is important. With money, you have freedom - you have independence - you have power. Never forget that, kitten. Money - freedom - independence - power."

She watched him drift away, his smile fading with the Christmas lights wondering why he left her standing there alone. And what happened to her coat? And when did she lose one of her gloves and why was she eating a tomato in the middle of the street?

I'm dreaming, that's why, she assured the little girl she used to be - the one with the peculiar eyes - the one who was grateful she didn't live in the days when they burned witches at the stake - her eyes causing strangers to make the sign of the cross.

~~~

It took him a moment to realize she had fallen asleep. He took his eyes off the road for a second and let them quickly roam over her face, thinking she was prettier than he first realized. Even without those fascinating eyes, she's a beautiful woman. With them... she's...

Tantalizing?  His head voice queried. Erotic? Exotic? What?

He took a heavy breath and tried to concentrate on the road ahead. Yes, all of the above,  he agreed. And a hooker,  he added with some finality. ...a hooker that needs to be spanked.

Police barricades were positioned across the road just blocks from the Presidential Arms. Now what?  Nick sighed. He left her in the car and got out to investigate. A water main had burst sending freezing water into the streets, which quickly turned to ice. The streets surrounding the hotel were blocked; no one was allowed in or out.

She woke when she heard the car door close and watched him approach the policeman. Now what?  She shook her head. Will I ever get that bath?

When he returned and explained the situation, she suggested he just drop her off. She would find another place to stay for the evening. "You're not going to have an easy time finding a place now. It's getting late; most of the neighboring hotels are already booked for the weekend." Making a quick and impulsive decision, he added. "I do know one place though... will you trust me?"

I don't know you. Why should I trust you?  "Yes," she said quietly, feeling a short burst of adrenaline surge through her.

What have you got to lose?  Her inner voice asked wearily.

My life.

Call it intuition or blarney, but I don't think you have anything to fear from this man.

Blarney,  she replied and suddenly relaxed. Her intuition had never failed her before.

He watched as her facial expression went from mistrust to wariness to question and then, to acceptance. "I promise you. You can trust me," he said in all seriousness and caught himself smiling at her again. She gave him a shy smile in return.

Even with treacherous driving conditions, they made it to his part of town in record time. He pulled into the basement of his building and with a hand on her elbow, escorted her to his 17th floor condominium.

When he closed and locked the door behind them, he reached to take her coat but she held it closed and looked at him, the obvious question in her eyes.

He spoke softly and calmly. "You can freshen up in the guest bath; take a shower, if you'd like." For God's sake! What the hell am I doing?  I'll find something... I can loan you a pair of sweats... I'll fix us something warm to eat. Christ! She *is* beautiful. Would you like a glass of wine?"

She relinquished her coat and scarf, tucking her gloves into her pockets. "The roads will probably be clear by tomorrow. You can spend the night in the guestroom or... on the couch, if you like. Or my bed.  I don't know your name," he added somewhat gruffly. "What's your name?"

She relaxed considerably during his short speech. He's cute when he hesitates, isn't he?  Her inner voice cooed.

He's not cute.

Oh? What would you call it?

He's adorable,  she clarified. Handsome, too.

And tall and bald and...

Adorable.  She focused on his mouth as he spoke, watching his lips form words, not really paying attention to what he said but comfortable listening to his rich baritone and understanding what he said was okay - whatever it was.

"What's your name?" he asked a second time as he showed her to the guestroom and its accompanying bath.

She gave him a full and sincere smile, her eyes lit with laughter. "Lucky. I think you should call me Lucky," she said with a hint of mischief in her voice. "And I shall call you..." She pursed her lips, thinking for a moment. "I shall call you Mr. Good Samaritan who rescues damsels in distress."

"Or you could just call me Nick," he said dryly.

"Is that your name?"

He nodded.

"What is your last name?"

"Verona."

"People you work with call you Nick... or do they call you Mr. Verona?"

"Neither."

"Neither? What do they call you?" She was genuinely perplexed.

"They call me Sir," he laughed softly, suddenly happy he had brought her home and went to his bedroom to retrieve a pair of sweats for her.

He was still chuckling when he returned and she was still standing where he left her - beside the guestroom bed.

"I don't think I'm going to call you sir," she said with a perfectly straight face. "Do you prefer Nick or Mr. Verona?"

"Neither," he said somewhat amused. She was very easy on the eyes and he enjoyed looking at her - so he did.

She looked, too, taking in the deep brown eyes, the broad shoulders, the barrel-like, burly muscular chest.

Bet his other parts are muscular too,  her inner voice smacked its lips.

Will you behave!  "Do you have a middle name?"

"Mmmm," he nodded.

I bet she'd be soft and warm in your bed, Nick, old man.

Mmmm.

"What is it?" She sighed inwardly.

He *is* a gorgeous hunk, isn't he?

Mmmm.

"It's Sergei."

"Oh, I like that. I shall call you Sergei," she announced as if that were the end of the discussion.

"And, I shall call you..."

"Lucky," she reminded him.

"Lucky," he agreed. Or Tiger or Kitten or Gorgeous or... until I find out what your name really is.

Maybe you'll get "lucky" yourself.

Mmmm, maybe.  He handed her a small pile of clothes. "These will be too big for you but more comfortable than what you're wearing. Take your time, then come into the kitchen. I'm going to take a shower and then fix us something to eat."

~ End Part Two ~

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